Study Says Hogle Zoo Should Not Move

Study Says Hogle Zoo Should Not Move

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A study has concluded that Hogle Zoo should remain where it is.

Salt Lake County officials do not like that conclusion so they have ordered their own study.

The first study recommended that the zoo stay put in Salt Lake City and expand to the other side of Sunnyside Avenue rather than move to vacant property along the Jordan River in West Valley City.

The zoo's study, which was obtained this week by The Salt Lake Tribune and reported in a copyright story, said expansion across the street would cost $85 million less than relocating.

The Salt Lake County Council approved funding Tuesday for a new study on whether to expand the zoo where it is or move it to county-owned land in West Valley City.

Senate President Al Mansell, R-Sandy, who has been a leading advocate of moving the zoo, said study has "lots of holes in it. It's worthless. The county has to do something better."

Zoo Executive Director Craig Dinsmore said he welcomes more information.

"No one wants an answer to this question more than Hogle Zoo," Dinsmore said. "We're not anti-move at all. At the end of the day, Hogle Zoo just wants the best location and the best for our animals."

The zoo's $30,000-plus study recommended that zoo officials lobby state leaders to sell 60 acres across Sunnyside Avenue and spend upward of $75 million building the site. The report also includes a $90 million upgrade at the current zoo.

It said taking the zoo to 100 acres in West Valley City would cost about $250 million -- not including the additional costs of operating the current zoo while building a new one.

Critics of the study's results said it failed to address the problems posed for the disabled by the hilly terrain across Sunnyside Avenue.

They said the study failed to mention the three freeways that could funnel visitors to a West Valley City zoo.

Deputy County Mayor Alan Dayton, a member of the zoo's executive board, said the study also failed to address the zoo's declining attendance.

"It's probably the most critical component," he said. "And it's not mentioned."

Dinsmore said the study was not meant to be a comprehensive report. "It was a cursory study for sure," he said, adding that everyone wanted initial information quickly.

Other potential zoo locations -- including the former Sharon Steel site in Midvale and Murray's Wheeler Farm area -- were not included in the study.

Hogle Zoo receives most of its revenue from ticket fees but also gets county Zoo, Arts and Parks money and state funding.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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