Elk Grove residents to get sneak peek at proposed zoo plans

An aerial view shows the proposed Elk Grove site for the Sacramento Zoo in the foreground on Tuesday, Dec.  28, 2021, with newly constructed Lotz Parkway crossing the middle of the image.  New homes and the under construction Sky River Casino are visible at the distance.  The zoo would be accessed from Highway 99 via Kammerer Road.

An aerial view shows the proposed Elk Grove site for the Sacramento Zoo in the foreground on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, with newly constructed Lotz Parkway crossing the middle of the image. New homes and the under construction Sky River Casino are visible at the distance. The zoo would be accessed from Highway 99 via Kammerer Road.

[email protected]

Elk Grove residents will get a sneak preview of the city’s road map for a new regional zoo at a virtual March 10 town hall.

Elk Grove officials and representatives of the Sacramento Zoological Society — the people behind the Sacramento Zoo — will lay out draft findings from a specially commissioned study at the 6 pm virtual meeting gauging the viability of the proposed new zoo. They will be joined by national experts.

The meeting will be conducted on Zoom. Registering for the meeting in advance is encouraged.

Findings of the study, prepared by zoo facility consultants Relevant Strategies and Solutions, detail the project’s vision, construction budget and a strategic business plan that will “consider ways to fund the construction, start-up, and long-term operation of a new zoo ,” Elk Grove officials said.

Elk Grove City Council is expected to see the completed document March 23.

The zoological center proposed for 60 acres at Lotz Parkway and Kammerer Road in the southeast end of the city would be the nation’s first new zoo since the Indianapolis Zoo in 1988.

Zoo officials said the site would also provide the increased capacity to care for the animals that the smaller, 14.7-acre Land Park zoo had to give up. A number of Sacramento sites have been floated as options over the years even as the zoo has shed many of its iconic species, including bears, gorillas and hippopotamus, for lack of space or habitat.

City officials said a relocated zoo could draw as many as 1 million visitors a year and provide about 250 jobs.

Elk Grove City Council in late February approved a $9 million purchase agreement securing the land — just more than 100 acres in all — for the proposed zoo site and other potential development.

“It’s not too often you get to do that. That’s what makes this special,” Relevant Strategies managing partner Rick Riddle said in January. “This is a lifetime opportunity for the animals, and for the city of Elk Grove.”

Elk Grove and Sacramento Zoological Society officials joined in an exclusive pact last September to consider moving the zoo from its longtime William Land Park home and commissioned the New Jersey-based consultants to prepare the report. Elk Grove’s six-month negotiating partnership with the zoological society comes to an end this month.

Relevant Strategies and Solutions has worked with roughly half of the nation’s 220 corporate zoos including facilities in Arizona, Louisiana and Virginia, and has a nearly decade-long association with the Sacramento Zoo and its attempts to find a new home.

Sacramento Zoo officials have tried for years to find a new location for its aging, landlocked zoo.

“If we continue on our path, we are managing toward extinction,” Sacramento Zoo Executive Director Jason Jacobs told a Sacramento city committee last April.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

Darrell Smith covers courts and California news for The Sacramento Bee. He joined The Bee in 2006 and previously worked at newspapers in Palm Springs, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Marysville. A Sacramento Valley native, Smith was born and raised at Beale Air Force Base, near Marysville.

.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: