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City looks to add more exhibits to Columbian Park Zoo

The city of Lafayette is looking to add more exhibits at Columbian Park Zoo.

Posted: Nov. 6, 2017 10:51 AM
Updated: Nov. 6, 2017 1:37 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The city of Lafayette is looking to add more exhibits at Columbian Park Zoo.

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The zoo has been a staple in the Greater Lafayette community for more than a century.

Mayor Tony Roswarski said the city is at a point where it would like to bring some new exhibits.
"We're careful with our money but we also want to get things done," said Roswarski. "So we realize that this is kind of that good point that we'll be able to financially get some of these done."

Roswarski said this is part of a quality of life initiative, aimed at drawing more people to Lafayette.
"Parks and recreation are a huge piece of economic development and how businesses and people look at a community," Roswarski said.

Plans call for three new exhibits.

"Long term we're looking at doing the penguins and then a large cats exhibit and then a primate exhibit," said Roswarski.
The price tag is upwards of two million dollars.

But the project is still a couple of years away, so that dollar amount could change.
"Typically, we look for donors and we do have a partial donor on this one who wants to remain anonymous and then the rest we would pay out of probably TIF (tax increment financing) district money that we use for Columbian Park," Roswarski said.

Right now, there is no admission. But that could change down the road.

"As we add exhibits of this quality, a penguin exhibit, a primate exhibit, a large cat exhibit, there will probably become a time where we will have to charge something for people to get into the zoo," said Roswarski. "Those are very expensive to build and very expensive to maintain."

Roswarski said the project will mean a huge deal to the community.

"I'd be confident in saying that once we have all of these exhibits done, that to have a zoo of that quality with that many different exhibits of the quality of those exhibits will be pretty unique for a community our size," Roswarski said."

Roswarski said the actual footprint of the zoo will not change,

He said the city is still in the early planning stages of the project.

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