WATERTOWN — City Council members like what Zoo New York officials have in store for the zoo at Thompson Park.

At a council work session on Monday night, council members informally agreed to the zoo’s master plan, the first one in decades.

Chief Executive Officer Lawrence J. Sorel gave a presentation on the plans on Monday night.

“This is a snapshot,” he said.

The completion of the master plan comes at a time when the zoo is celebrating its 100th year.

Council members plan to endorse the master plan at their next meeting or in December.

Phase one of the plan includes dividing the entrance from the exit, adding an aquarium, additional education space and a bison habitat.

The total cost for the entire project is unknown, however, the total cost of phase one “in soft costs” would be around $6 million.

The zoo hopes to raise money for the project via government funding, grant funding, and private individual funding, but were unsure of how it would look.

“It all depends on the availability of funding,” Mr. Sorel said.

Councilwomen Sarah V. Compo-Pierce and Lisa A. Ruggiero said they liked the components of event rental space and an adventure park, which would include a zip line and tree-top ropes in the first phase.

The amenities would draw people to the park who would pay an additional fee and therefore generate revenue, the two councilwomen said.

Councilwoman Compo-Pierce mentioned that Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul announced on Monday more than $200 million in funding that would become available for the tourism industry.

Some new potential species at the zoo include elk, moose, bison, caribou, ducks, geese and other large land-based birds, as well as animals from the Long Island Sound.

The gift shop and concessions also would get a makeover, and some existing exhibits would be improved.

Plans call for designing the first phase amenities next year and construction to start within the 18 months to follow.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment


Looks like they're going for more emphasis on the upfront (subsidized) cost and less on the maintenance. Bison and geese are cold tolerant herbivores.

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