Also, a bit of good zoo news:
A message from Lee Ehmke...
To All Staff and Volunteers:
It was another excellent year at the legislature for the MN Zoo! In the final bonding bill that passed early Sunday morning, the Zoo received appropriations of $7.5 million for asset preservation and an additional $7.5 million for continuing work on Master Plan projects.
The combination of these dollars will allow us to move forward in our goal of becoming one of the top ten zoos in America. These funds allow us to complete the Russia's Grizzly Coast exhibit with the wild boar and education building; we have funding to renew the Minnesota Trail; we will be able to make significant improvements to the Central Plaza; the chiller work in the Tropics Building will be completed, along with numerous other projects to take care of the buildings and infrastructure we have. In addition, we will be able to continue our planning efforts for a new entrance and other Heart of the Zoo projects.
The past two legislative sessions have resulted in over $45 million in new capital investment and debt relief that the state has provided. Two years of significant investment by the zoo's owner, the state, positions us well as we plan for a major capital campaign to raise private funds.
The Governor played a significant role in the final bonding negotiations. In addition, Dakota County legislators were helpful in their behind the scenes support. When given the opportunity, please thank them for their advocacy.
Thank you for all the work you do. There is a lot of work for us ahead, but together we will make the Minnesota Zoological Garden a world class zoo.