Sunday: Tulsa Zoo would benefit if Vision2 passes
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Saturday, October 06, 2012
The $20 million infusion the Tulsa Zoo would receive if Vision2 is approved by voters is almost equal to its total from the last 30 years of city capital initiatives.
Stretching from the 1983 general obligation bond to the 2006 third-penny sales tax, the zoo has gotten $22.85 million — parceled out in small amounts — to pay for upgrades, records show.
“We’ve fallen behind the curve,” said Terrie Correll, CEO of Tulsa Zoo Management Inc., the public-private organization that began to oversee the city-owned facility last year.
“A lot of old city zoos recognized 20 years ago that they needed to get on a path to revitalization. That’s the path that we’re embarking on now.”
Even though more than 550,000 people visit the zoo each year, the aging infrastructure of the facility that opened in 1928, maintenance issues and lack of new attractions have taken their toll, Correll said.
Zoo officials earlier this year unveiled a 20-year master plan that involves $150 million in improvements and new exhibits.
Fundraising efforts are under way, but the Vision2 investment, which would come from the city’s quality-of-life share of the countywide package, would help accomplish the $54 million first phase.
One of the primary reasons for the facility to be managed by the new entity was to improve its donor capabilities.
“The private sector always has been very generous,” said Lindsay Hutchison, Tulsa Zoo Management development director.
“But it still expects the city of Tulsa to support the zoo as a city asset.”
The zoo lobbied the City Council for a $27 million Vision2 allocation but will receive $20 million, if it is approved Nov. 6 by voters.
Read more in Sunday's World.
Kevin and Mary Anne Antich make their way past the tiger exhibit at the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World