Funding for the Miller Park master plan is yet to be determined. Support for the project now moves on to discussing the financial concerns. (photo by B. Corbin/WJBC)
By Zach Dietmeier
BLOOMINGTON - Miller Park Zoo will continue the process of forming a master plan after the Bloomington City Council voted to support its foundation. City Manager David Hales says standing behind the zoo is important for the community.
"The plan is not only saying 'here's some things to consider' but they are answering why," said Hales. "We want to make sure that we have an asset like [Miller Park] that people are going to continue to want to enjoy, that they are going to come back to; we could look at increasing the admission, bringing up the attendance, and we're in competition with other zoos."
It’s been a long process, but Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts John Kennedy says funding is made easier by having a master plan in place.
"As we try to look out for partnering for other support financially - especially for grants - most of those grant applications are going to ask if you have a master plan in place, and was there public input involved, and what are your needs," said Kennedy.
Kennedy said the plans also strengthens chances that the zoo will receive a five-year accreditation from the American Zoological Association. At present, Miller Park Zoo holds a one-year accreditation due to the pending master plan.
Concerns over the plan ask for a more unique, innovative, interactive, and more animal friendly environment in the future. Supporters say quality of life and endangered species rehabilitation is already a focus at Miller Park.
The council set no time table or public/private split for funding. Mayor Steve Stockton said that will come later.
Zach Dietmeier can be reached at Zach.Dietmeier@Cumulus.com.