- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Baton Rouge Zoo will need to move to a new location to be successful in the future, consultants hired by the zoo told parish parks officials.

“Location needs to be assessed to ensure maximum return to all,” consultants from Philadelphia-based Schultz & Williams said Wednesday during a presentation of a feasibility study on a $110 million zoo upgrade.

The consultants are currently identifying site options, said Kaki Heiligenthal, the zoo’s marketing and development director. She said they will reveal those locations to the East Baton Rouge Parish Recreation and Park Commission’s Board of Commissioners in February.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1lW8RlR ) past discussions about relocationing the zoo from its location near Baker have led to political squabbles between the northern and southern parts of the parish.

Davis Rhorer, a commissioner and executive director of the Downtown Development District, said the consultants’ presentation made it clear changes need to be made.

“I’m curious to see what they come back with,” Rhorer said. “I’m not aware of all the sites they’re looking at. I think BREC is being more responsive to currently what other zoos are doing.”

In addition to recommending relocation, the consultants also suggested making the exhibits more interactive as well as adding educational programs.

The consultants said zoo officials should explore public and private partnerships. Their initial feasibility study estimates the zoo could raise $25 million in private money.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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