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Hogle Zoo Unveils Master Plan

Hogle Zoo Unveils Master Plan

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Whit Johnson Reporting The Hogle Zoo wants $65 million from taxpayers for new state of the art renovation. Their plans were unveiled to the public today.

The zoo has changed quite a bit in the last few years. Most notably are the changes to the façade, plus two new exhibits. Zoo officials hope to make more improvements that will add to their already record high attendance, but it comes with a very big price tag.

A surge in attendance is bringing new life to Hogle Zoo. It was a record year in 2006, but 2007 is on pace to beat those numbers by the thousands.

Today the Zoo unveiled its master plan. Craig Dinsmore, executive director of Hogle Zoo, says "We believe we're becoming a really good zoo. This plan will help us become a truly great zoo."

Developments include improving the parking structure, adding a multi-purpose education facility, bringing new exhibits that will provide better environments for the animals and providing up close views for people.

It's all a way to move beyond outdated facilities but it could cost residents in Salt Lake County $65 million in the form of a bond. Dinsmore says, "We think it's important for taxpayers to understand this is not an upfront big hit. It will be spread out over time with minimal increases each year."

The county council approved the bond for further study, but it still has a few hurdles to clear before it heads to the voters in November.

Public Campaign Manager Maura Carabello clarifies, "So the yearly impact is what the taxpayers should be looking at. How much will I have to pay every year in order to have these improvements at the zoo?"

Dinsmore insists, "It's got to be high quality. It's got to provide the best of care for the animals, the best of programs for its guests and return something back in a big way to the taxpayers."

The master plan includes capital improvements, which means ZAP-TAX money will not cover it. A Debt Review Committee will take a look at the plan by the end of June.

Voters passed another big bond recently. You can find information about a past zoo expansion by looking at the related links section of this web page.

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