Hit with supply chain issues, increase of construction costs, and inflation worsened by the pandemic, officials from the Cameron Park Zoo says that the tourist attraction is $10 million short for its expansion project.
A penguin exhibit along with several new facilities were slated to be financed by a $14.5 million bond that was approved back in 2019, but the cost has now soared to at least $22,000,000 to $25,000,000 due to post-COVID inflation — approximately $10,500,000 shortfall for the expansion package.
Facing this predicament, zoo officials are now requesting for additional funding. KWTX further reported:
The plan is to have the city, county and zoological society split the overtures three ways: $3.4 million each.
“We hope that all of us can partner together to expand the zoo,” said Cox. “This year’s subsidy that is given to the zoo from the general fund of the city was cut by $1 million because we have been very profitable in the last year and we’ve made some changes with the contract between the society and the city that has helped reduced that subsidy and it’s been beneficial to all of us and it would be beneficial to all of us to have this expansion project, and I get the feeling that the county and city officials feel the same way, but they do have to look at their books, and we all have to make a decision based on that.”
“The goal is, if these funds are approved, the goal would be to break-ground by the end of the year on the penguin, and to go to bid and start construction on all three of these projects by the first of next year,” said Cox
The zoo brings in an estimated $10 million to the local economy yearly, officials said.
However, the goal is to grow that number through the expansion.