TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - New attention is being paid to the Reid Park Zoo expansion, specifically one of the duck ponds that will be lost in construction.
The Zoo started soil sampling over the weekend, which is why fences went up. Likely gathering the attention of residents and jogging their memories.
It stuck out to resident Jessica Flax, who said she had no idea of the expansion. After doing some research she still felt the Zoo had not been transparent enough about the land that would be taken away. The removal of the south pond will open up enough space for a tiger habitat five times the size of the current one.
“I would just feel bad not doing anything I feel it’s a least worth a shot," said Flax. “Unless you are very very familiar with the park you wouldn’t know the area that they’re expanding takes away from all of the park.”
So she started a petition that picked up steam trying to stop it. However, city officials state that the description within the petition does not entirely reflect their plans.
One part in particular, where it states birds will be displaced. However, the North pond, and bigger one, will remain intact and open to the public and birds.
Zoo officials responded to the news of the petition Monday and said this plan approved by voters in 2017.
CEO and President of Reid Park Zoo Nancy Kluge said they say they held more than 100 meetings to get community input about their plans and even an open house last year.
“It was 92% that were in favor of moving forward with the master plan,” said Kluge.
Since the plan was already approved, Kluge says the petition doesn’t hold enough power to stop it. She recognized the memories the park holds, but hopes new ones can be made with the new layout.
″We value the park too and we live here, and we want it to be good for our community," said Kluge.
Despite the approval of the project, Jessica says she still plans to take the petition and present it to mayor and council on November 17th.
The south pond will be filled back up until construction starts in February and March. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.
More on the zoo expansion: https://reidparkzoo.org/future/