Feasibility study of potential relocation of zoo from Sac to EG completed | News

A recently completed six-month feasibility study between the city of Elk Grove and the Sacramento Zoological Society identifies a potential relocation of the Sacramento Zoo to Elk Grove as a viable option.

If this proposed plan becomes a reality, the 95-year-old zoo would move to a much larger site than its current 14-acre site in Sacramento’s William Land Park. The zoo is currently home to 433 animals of 110 species.

Last month, the Elk Grove City Council unanimously approved a $9.5 million purchase agreement for 100 acres of land for the zoo’s potential move and expansion in Elk Grove. This property is located off Highway 99 at the northwest corner of Kammerer Road and Lotz Parkway.

An online public meeting to present the details of the feasibility study was held on March 10.

In a pre-recorded video shown at the start of this meeting, Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen explained the need for the zoo to move to a larger site.

“He’s just too small to properly serve the animals like Mo in their care,” she said as she stood in front of the zoo’s resident okapi, Mo.

Sacramento Zoo Director Jason Jacobs echoed Singh-Allen’s remarks, noting that the zoo once had much larger animals such as bears, tigers, gorillas and hippos that were turned away due to of their small living spaces.

“(These larger animals) are popular and iconic, but zoos have a vital role to play in the conservation of rare and endangered species,” he said. “And the site here does not allow us to provide enough space for these animals and to serve this whole area well.”

He added that the zoo, despite its small campus and lack of its own parking lot, is the most visited cultural venue in the region, with more than 500,000 visitors a year.

Jacobs said the Elk Grove proposal follows multiple attempts to find a larger, more suitable site for the Sacramento Zoo. He said a 2019 relocation viability study found no available sites in that city met those needs, including meeting the “ever-changing standards of Association of Zoos accreditation guidelines.” and aquaria”.

The recently completed feasibility study for the proposed Elk Grove Zoo found that the site at Kammerer Road and Lotz Parkway meets conservation, education and recreation desires for a new Sacramento Zoo location.

There are also plans for the zoo to be built in a design that would create a modern zoological park, Jacobs noted.

“We don’t want to create a zoo with row after row of hoofed animal enclosures or a row of monkey cages, do we? – or a row of concrete caves for big cats and other carnivores,” he said.

“(The) Zoo of the Future and Top Zoos of Today are a series of impactful experiences showcasing animals in naturalist homes that educate, inspire our guests to take action for wildlife and make a difference for conservation. .”

Jacobs said zoo officials were looking to create the “best zoo in Northern California.”

The Elk Grove Zoo would feature educational programs for students of all ages, state-of-the-art animal care facilities, and innovative dining, entertainment, and retail facilities.

There would also be an entrance complex designed to accommodate one million visitors a year and an adjacent 10-acre parking lot.

The new zoo, Jones said, would include a return to housing iconic and larger animals and the creation of exhibits that would take zoo visitors on a “safari around the world.”

Jones noted that the zoo would be built in two phases, with the majority of the first phase focusing on African wildlife. This phase would include the exhibit on the African savannah, with animals such as white rhinos, giraffes and zebras.

The zoo would also include a safari-inspired lodge that could accommodate hundreds of people and tented safari experiences for parties such as Boy Scouts and corporate retreat groups.

Habitats would also be built for animals such as okapis and geladas.

Another Phase 1 plan for the proposed zoo is the Primate Playground where children can climb and play along an area designated for ring-tailed lemurs and squirrel monkeys.

The same phase would include a veterinary hospital and a potential partnership with the University of California, Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine.

Phase 2 would showcase California, with an exhibit of animals native to the Golden State, such as grizzly bears, river otters, elk and trout. Another Phase 2 exhibit would be the Asia exhibit, which would include tigers, primates, and birds native to that part of the world.

Guests will also be able to see kangaroos, wallabies, emus and other animals in the Phase 2 Australia exhibit. It is also proposed that an area in this phase be dedicated to great apes.

Both phases of the development plan would use 70 acres of the proposed Elk Grove Zoo site.

The feasibility study also includes annual Phase 1 projections for zoo attendance ranging from 1 million to 1.2 million visitors.

No annual operational support would be required from the town of Elk Grove, and the zoo would employ approximately 197 full-time workers, compared to 86 at the current zoo.

The projected economic impact to the community over the zoo’s first five years would be $223 million, and visitor and employee spending associated with the zoo could generate approximately $2.6 million in municipal sales and revenue from transitory occupancy taxes during this period.

It is mentioned in the study that the proposed zoo at Elk Grove “appears financially feasible, without diverting funds from other city priorities and departments”.

The results of the study will be presented to the Elk Grove City Council on March 23, and if the council decides to go ahead with the project, the zoological society and the city will negotiate a management and operations agreement. .

This agreement, which would likely be considered by council for approval this fall, would include rules and responsibilities for both parties regarding property acquisition, construction, support utilities and operation of the facility. ‘installation.

There would also be design and financial planning, environmental review, and opportunities for community input on zoo design elements and features.

For more information on the Sacramento Zoo’s potential move to Elk Grove, visit the City of Elk Grove website at www.ElkGroveCity.org/zoo.

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