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Miller Park Zoo improvements on agenda for city

Jessica Smith
Staff Writer

Miller Park Zoo will be a focus of Monday night’s city council meetings as funding options for improvements are discussed. The facility is more than a century old.

City Manager David Hales hopes that during its 6 p.m. work session, the council will let the city staff know if a funding plan for zoo improvements is possible at this time. This discussion comes several weeks before annual budget talks, and following heavy debate last year about whether budget needs should be weighed as a whole, or individually.

A now-eliminated subcommittee suggested a plan of splitting the budget for these improvements between the city and private funds raised by the Miller Park Zoological Society.

The total cost to the city if this plan is followed would be about $9.45 million over the next 15 to 20 years.

The city staff also plans to apply for grant funding, including $700,000 in Illinois Public Museum Capital Grant Program funding to pay for a new monkey exhibit, additional parking and renovations to the gift shop with addition of a concession stand, if granted permission by the council.

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