Zoo needs $200,000 to keep doors open past August 16

By ANTHONY WARREN,

Jackson will have to transfer $200,000 to the Jackson Zoological Park immediately, or the park will be forced to close.

The city council has set July 30 for a special meeting to vote on making the immediate allocation for the “purpose of operating and maintaining the Jackson Zoo” or face closure by August 16.

The news comes one week after Interim Director Dave Wetzel told the Sun the park’s attendance had dropped dramatically year over year, and that the park would not meet its annual operating budget.

Funds will be used for payroll, taxes and benefits, as well as outstanding bills, such as loan paybacks, animal food, utilities, insurance and other expenses, city documents show.

The meeting is for 9:30 a.m., in council chambers at Jackson City Hall.

Parks and Recreation Director Ison Harris requested the council take the action in a memo dated July 26.

He said, “without this immediate appropriation and transfer of funds, the Jackson Zoological Park, Inc., will be forced to close by August 16.”

The zoo is managed by the Jackson Zoological Society. The city is hoping to bring on a new management firm, the ZoOceanarium Group, and is currently in talks with the them.

Jackson is keeping the society in place until the ZoOceanarium agreement is finalized.

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