|Miller Park Zoo proposes new master plan|
|Written by Jennifer Novoseletsky, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Tuesday, 11 September 2012 14:50|
Bloomington’s Miller Park Zoo is planning major changes to increase its number of guests, and to keep the zoo different for each guest’s visit for the next 10 to 20 years.
“The proposed new zoo master plan would provide a plan for adding additional capital programs for [the] current zoo,” David Hales, Bloomington city manager, said. “It has a price tag of approximately $17 million to build.”
Jay Tetzloff, superintendent at Miller Park Zoo, is the individual who brought this plan to the table.
“It’s something that the zoo needed,” Tetzloff explained. “We haven’t had [a plan] since 1994.”
“I’ve been here just three years now, so over a year and a half ago I felt it was important to have something in place as we look to the future of the Miller Park Zoo,” he added.
Aside from having a fundraiser Sept. 8 the zoo is talking to the community, companies, individuals and writing grants to help find donors to financially contribute to the plan.
Though the plan is currently being taken into consideration by the city council, WDM architects are involved and helping with ideas to improve the zoo, taking not only the council’s thoughts into consideration but also the zoo staff and the guests, Hales said.
“The first project is more likely going to be a flamingo exhibit near the entrance, so when you walk into the zoo you see 34-40 beautiful flamingos,” Tetzloff explained.
“One of the most exciting improvements in some of the early phases is to provide a new exhibit and the venue for the seals that we have in the zoo,” Hales added.
According to Tetzloff, there was a public meeting in February to give people an opportunity for feedback and get the public involved.
“I think our guests are looking forward to the changes that we’re going to do out here,” Tetzloff said. “We’ve heard very positive comments about the plan that people have seen.”
Additionally, the plan includes building about 30 new exhibits in the future. If all goes according to plan, there may be an exhibit built annually, Tetzloff said.
Changes to the zoo’s plan include benefits for not only the zoo, but also the visitors.
“It is quite an exciting plan because it would not only replace some very old and aged facilities for animals, it would allow for new facilities for some new animal species,” Hales said. “It would reconfigure the zoo, make for a much more enjoyably [experience for] zoo patrons, and continue to keep it, I think, an exciting venue for not only our citizens, but people from outside the area and all of central Illinois to come and visit not only the zoo, but to visit the city of Bloomington.”
For more information, visit www.cityblm.org to view a presentation of the master plan. There is also a plan on the WJBC website and the zoo website, Tetzloff said.
“We encourage people to come out to the zoo and see where we are now and then go to the websites we talked about and see where we’re going,” he added.