Jackson’s top elected leaders have come out against plans to relocate the Jackson Zoological Park to Northeast Jackson.
Today, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and City Council President Charles Tillman voiced their opposition at a press conference.
The two were surrounded by representatives of Working Together Jackson, a consortium of 35 organizations that are also opposed to relocation efforts.
“It is the position of myself and the administration that we do not support the moving of the zoo from West Jackson. We understand the challenges the zoo is facing (but) if there is a significant investment in the zoo, it should be made (at its current location),” he said.
The mayor went on to say that moving the zoo would leave a void in West Jackson, and as a result place a greater tax burden on residents in North Jackson and South Jackson.
“This will affect everyone across the city. We will use all the tools in our tool box to ensure that it (the move) does not happen.”
The press conference comes on the heels of the Jackson Zoological Society’s announcement that it was studying relocating the zoo to LeFleur’s Bluff State Park.
Recently, the society’s board of directors voted to move forward with relocation plans, citing the results of a 2016 study from independent consultants. The consultants determined that donors would not contribute to a $15 million capital campaign for zoo improvements, citing its current location.
The zoo has been struggling with attendance for years. Last year, about 100,000 people visited the park, down from more than 180,000 in 2003.