Friday, July 16, 2010

Sacramento Zoo Feasibility Study

This Tuesday the City Council will look over a two year study by the Community Development Department Zoo feasibility study. The Sacramento Zoological Society Long Range Planning Committee had identified Sutter's Landing Regional Park as their preferred site for a modest expansion of the zoo, but alternative sites have also been located for a future zoo.

Cost Premium of Construction on former landfill:
Construction costs will be significantly higher (to account for ground settling and special drainage treatment); thus, it is expected that construction of a zoo on this site would cost $625K/acre ($30 million total for a 50 acre zoo) above the "normal" costs of constructing a zoo on a site without landfill issues.

In addition to Sutter's Landing Regional Park, the consultant conducted preliminary evaluations of other potential sites:
• Natomas Joint Vision: This land area has no land use entitlements or habitat conservation permits.
• Arco Arena area: This site is part of the Convergence proposal
• Job Corps / Delta Shores Regional Park: The southern portion of the Job Corps site has not yet been surplused by the federal government
• North Natomas Regional Park: Already programmed for other uses
• Haggin Oaks Golf Course: This would require reconfiguration of the existing golf course and there may be competition from other potential users
• Cal Expo: This site is part of the Convergence proposal
• Granite Regional Park - east basin: This site is.difficult to evacuate in the event of drainage pump failure
• Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course: This site would require reconfiguration or elimination of the existing golf course.

The study emphasized that:
• The decision and actions to move forward with a zoo of the future are long range planning activities (a 20 year timeframe).
• There are no imminent plans to move or expand the zoo; options are provided for preliminary consideration.
• The community and PRC workshops are an important step in exploring those options for the long term future of the zoo.

The Feasibility Study concluded that:
• The current 14 acre site of the Land Park zoo is not sustainable for the future. The changing exhibit requirements, increasing operating costs, and stagnant revenues, are resulting in a zoo that offers fewer exhibits. Parking is limited and cannot fully accommodate visitors on weekends or during busy seasons.
• Sutter's Landing Regional Park is not well suited for a zoo. The site poses a number of tough challenges (e.g., building new access roads and constructing zoo facilities on a former landfill).
• Initial findings are that other sites are potentially better suited for a future zoo.
• Physically, Land Park could potentially accommodate a modest expansion.

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