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Save the Heart of Reid Park members propose new zoo expansion option

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 8:44 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Just 24 hours before Mayor Regina Romero and the Tucson City Council discuss the options for the Reid Park Zoo expansion, members of Save the Heart of Reid Park are recommending a new option. Members say the plan could be a win-win for everyone, but officials aren’t so sure.

“This concept will be part of that discussion. I believe it will get a hearing. Of course, until they vote we don’t know how it will go, but we are optimistic. We’re just optimistic that this concept will be well received because it does solve a lot of problems.” Bob Vint, a member of Save the Heart of Reid Park has no doubt the new option will be heard during tomorrow’s council study session, despite coming into play so late.

Members say this new plan would save all open areas of Reid Park west of Lakeshore Lane and allow the zoo to expand north into the city storage yard. All at a cost comparable to one of the other options the council is considering.

“It was left to the community to basically find the solution,” says Mark Mayer, another member of Save the Heart of Reid Park.

But the cost is exactly what’s on the mind of Councilman Steve Kozachik, “The new plan -we don’t know what it’s going to cost, 4 million, 5 million 6 million? Regardless of what those new added costs are, that’s on top of the two and half we’ve already spent.”

Councilman Kozachik says he’s not sure it makes sense to delay a decision any longer or spend more money for a plan that just arrived.

“There’s a lot on the line here and it’s not simply Barnum Hill. It’s the city’s credibility, city’s financial responsibility to the tax payers, and the fact that we have to balance the use of open space,” he says.

Meanwhile Reid Park Zoo President Nancy Kluge feels the newly proposed option will require more study.

Kluge says, “They’ll have to be looked at from a perspective of environmental concerns, making sure that utilities work – all those details that you would look at within a project. There are unknowns because we’re just starting to look at it right now. So I think all of those would have to be evaluated.”

Kluge says she looks forward to working with the city on to carry out whatever option they decide.

This new option, along with eight others will be discussed by Tucson’s mayor and council tomorrow.

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