Some observations about the Glen Oak Zoo expansion;
An Editorial in the Journal Star this month says “To be honest, an expanded Glen Oak Zoo would not have topped our list of priorities for Peoria. At some $32 million, the five phase expansion is one of the more sizeable projects we’ve seen in Peoria for a while.”
“Bielfeldt Foundation donates $5,000,000.00 to the $25,000,000.00 Glen Oak Zoo expansion.” (JS 9/6/02).. “The overall campaign is $32.1 million.” (Quote Polly Barton, 9/04, in the Peoria Woman.) A $7,000,000.00 jump in two years!!
“The Zoo is expected to draw visitors from a 60 miles radius, bringing in up to 400,000 visitors annually, an increase from 110,000 current averages.” (Quotes from Jan Schweitzer, Times Newspaper, 11/7/01)
“The expanded Zoo will attract upwards of 170,000 people each year an increase of 70,000 over current attendance.” (Quote from Polly Barton, 9/04, in the Peoria Woman.” (Polly is Co-Chair of the Zoological Capital Campaign.)
“Attendance is expected to immediately double and ultimately triple, some 100,000 people annually pass thru the gates now.” (JS Editorial, 8/04.)
“Without looking at the agreement, PPD Board members approved a $2.7 million dollar contract with a New Orleans firm to design an expanded Glen Oak Zoo.”
“Admission is $4.75 for adults and $2.50 for children 3-12 and younger visit free.” (JS 7/04)
“The Zoo has been heavily subsidized by the PPD and is expected to have a $400,000.00 deficit this year. About 157,000 people visited the Zoo last year. (JS 4/24/03)
“We are currently experiencing a major traffic congestion problem and in fact had a serious traffic accident on March 28. The use of Glen Oak Park has increased dramatically.” (Written statement issued by Bonnie Noble on 3/30/98.)
“A Bear Market for Zoos” is a headline in the Wall Street Journal on 5/30/03. The article further states that according to the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, attendance is down 3% nationwide.
According to the 2003 year end financial statement, the Glen Oak Zoo had revenues of $370,882.00 and only $360,190.00 in 2002.
Can you make any sense of what is going on here, except that we are going to have another beautiful facility that we really can’t afford? Can you understand the double speak in the numbers & projections? I can’t. I tried to tell you what a financial burden the River Plex would become and it is to the tune of $6,000.00 to $7,000.00 a day in losses. (PPD Financial Statement dated 12/31/03.)
A lot more facts about what is going on in this community will continue to appear on this site.
Talk to you soon!