Bend O' the River Ranch Open to Public for First Time

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TEMPLE (October 6, 2012)--Thirty acres of land once owned by a well-known Central Texas family was open to the public for the first time Saturday.

The "Imagine If" Family Festival included live music, pony rides, a petting zoo and food vendors.

But those on the committee for the land say the most exciting thing is the plans for it.

"We just want everyone to be excited about Bend of the River becoming a botanic garden one of these days," said Zoe Rascoe, Bend of the River Botanic Garden Committee Member.

The Bend of the River Ranch, located between the Leon River and Interstate 35, has potential to become the largest botanic garden in Central Texas.

"This is beyond our dreams of what we could imagine," said Terice Talasek Schneider, daughter of the donors of the land.

The Talasek family donated the land to the City of Temple when her father, the late Reuben Talasek, passed away.

"When we saw what could be, we saw the energy behind these women who are running this project," said Talasek Schneider.

"They had such great energy, excitement and vision that we said 'This is great,' she added.

The land committee plans to raise funds through private fundraisers, grants and rental fees of the facility for weddings, private parties and photo shoots.

"This is going to be not a fast process, but we're OK with that because we want it to be done very thoughtfully and very carefully," said Rascoe.

"He's smiling right now, and he's just laughing looking down from heaven saying, "Go for it," said Talasek Schneider.

The Talasek family and Temple community hope to see Reuben Talasek's legacy shine brightest by 2020.