The city is hoping $700,000 from the Kellogg Foundation could grant the greenhouse a new vision.
Assistant City Manager Gary Packan said Kellogg grant or not, the city would like to see the greenhouse become a community education experience and a year-round destination.
"Primarily it's been a functional facility and we want to change that so it's a place where we can tie educational opportunities with therapy programs and demonstrations," Packan said.
The funds could allow the city to do demonstrations, host tours of floral parks and expand the floral parks within the Kilbourne Plat, he said.
The Sandusky Erie County Community Foundation almost ran out of time to apply for the grant due July 1 because the future of the greenhouse was of growing concern to city commission.
The grant submission was green-lighted once an energy conservation contract was approved for upgrades to the greenhouse and other city buildings.
The foundation was assisted by the city, Erie MetroParks and various other community groups, but is the lead agency in applying for the grant.
The grant would make the greenhouse American Disability Association friendly.
About $400,000 of the overall grant would pay for construction changes while $100,000 would be used to establish an endowment for the continued sustainability of the greenhouse.
Additional funds are divided up for programming and advertising, Packan said.
"It's going to be a lot of work and it's not something that's going to happen overnight," he said.