Sacramento Zoo to Discuss Relocation Plans With City Leaders

April 17, 2019

KCRA3 Sacramento

Local news outlet KCRA3 reports on the Sacramento Zoo Board of Trustee’s exploration of new sites for the city’s zoo as well as the board’s forthcoming appearance before the Sacramento City Council. Downey Brand partner and President of the Zoo’s board of trustees Elizabeth Stallard is quoted regarding the zoo’s need for more space and the challenges associated with finding a new location.

See full article below or view it online at KCRA3.

By Emily Maher for KCRA3

The Sacramento Zoo Board of Trustees held its annual meeting for members on Wednesday. The meeting comes as zoo officials explore relocating to a new and bigger space.

“We could use a whole lot more space,” board president Elizabeth Stallard said. Stallard said the current location in Land Park doesn’t have enough space, forcing the zoo to get rid of some of its most popular animals.

“Elephant, grizzly bear, polar bear,” Stallard said. “We lost our beloved hippo. We sent our tigers away last year and we won’t be able to bring them back.” The zoo is inspected every five years by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. After its latest inspection in 2017, the association found the zoo is in need of major updates and renovations to keep its accreditation.

“The challenges are always going to be finding a place that works,” Stallard said. “Then having the resources to pay to make that a reality on that location.” Stallard said several locations in the city have been identified that would work as new sites for the zoo, including the site of the former Sleep Train Arena, which is owned by the Sacramento Kings. Stallard said the zoo is asking the city for help.

“There are a lot of factors involved, including cost and availability of space,” she said. “We’re still really in the preliminary stages of doing that. But, we’re looking for guidance from the city to make a concrete plan.” Some neighbors said they’d like to see the zoo relocated to Natomas.

“We do see a need for an economic engine to replace the old arena,” said Brandy Tuzon Boyd, a member of the group We Want a Zoo. Tuzon Boyd said she hopes the zoo will relocate to the former Sleep Train Arena location. “For us, the future looks brighter when there’s something in this space other than overgrown weeds and trees that need to be trimmed,” Tuzon Boyd said.

The Sacramento Kings are currently going through an entitlement process with the city. “We continue to work with the city to make progress towards a flexible master entitlement plan that is capable of adapting to a wide range of opportunities to benefit the region,” read a statement provided by the Kings.

The former Sleep Train Arena site is active on occasion for events like the Jehovah’s Witness convention, which had to relocate due to renovations at the Convention Center. The site has also been used for Junior Kings camps, an outdoor space for RV sales and a location for testing of autonomous vehicles.

The zoo’s board of trustees said it plans to appear in front of the Sacramento City Council at the end of next month to discuss the need for more space.