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Fresno's Chaffee Zoo expansion debate

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fresno's Chaffee Zoo, and plans for expansion are back on the front burner of the city and those who oppose it.

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The damp weather doesn't faze the Chaffee Zoo sea lions. And should the current master plan pass its last two hurdles, they will get the gift of a new home built inside the zoo right here.

Chaffee Zoo Director, Scott Barton said, "I'm excited to be able to deliver on what the voters voted for and actually paid for through Measure Z."

On Tuesday the Fresno County Board of Supervisors accepted the Zoo Authority Board's annual report detailing its plans to use Measure Z dollars for this project and a new exhibit on twenty acres inside the park itself. But there is opposition to both plans.

Attorney Richard Harriman represents Friends of Rodeing Park and relatives of George Roeding. He says the EIR was rushed, is flawed and will be challenged. "They are really going to have to bite the bullet and redo the process. We were not even given three days to have our experts review the document and prepare our presentation. We're intending to go the distance and we will."

Back at the zoo the animals haven't a clue of the expansion or disagreement. But the staff is looking hopefully to a future with new exhibits for existing animals and expansion to for new ones to arrive.

Barton said, "Six months from now I hope I'm walking you through the construction phase of the sea lion cove and showing you the early plans of the drawing of our new Africa area."

A determined foe with legal action on its mind aside -- Zoo Director Barton is feeling positive about support from the Fresno City Planning Commission and the Fresno City Council.

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Tags:
fresno city council, fresno county board of supervisors, chaffee zoo, fresno, fresno county, local, nancy osborne
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