- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - A public session held in Fort Dodge on Wednesday affirmed that the future of Oleson Park Zoo remains unclear.

The Messenger (https://bit.ly/1Bsxo1v ) reports that it was revealed at a meeting with residents, city officials and Friends of the Oleson Park Zoo representatives that there is no plan to upgrade the zoo or an estimate on how much such a plan may cost.

“If you’re going to go out and ask for money, you’re going to have to have more to talk about,” said Roy Chase, a resident who attended the session.

City Councilman Terry Moehnke said that he’s pleased that the Friends of the Oleson a volunteer group that manages the animal attraction, and the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission are currently working together on a plan after a “little bit of divide” in the past.

Moehnke also said that he was frustrated with the slow pace of the process of addressing the need to upgrade the zoo. Lori Brandenhorst, the city’s director of parks, recreation and forestry says that a fundraising campaign over five years would be needed to generate the money for any potential upgrades.

The director reported that at a recent meeting Friends of Oleson Park Zoo and city officials agreed that the zoo’s current state was unsustainable, but could not agree on the size of the zoo or what types of animals the zoo have.

Brandenhorst said that she and her staff will meet Friday to discuss the results of an online survey about the zoo. She says she expects to make a recommendation to the commission in mid-April and to the City Council in late April.

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Information from: The Messenger, https://www.messengernews.net


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