TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Tucson Mayor and City Council voted to stop expansion work on Reid Park Zoo to move forward with a new hybrid plan to save the duck pond.
On Tuesday, in a 6-1 vote mayor and council voted to move forward with a new expansion plan that would preserve both the North and South duck ponds. It's being called the "D / G hybrid plan."
“I’m feeling very hopeful and optimistic,” Manon Getsi told KGUN9.
Getsi is with Save the Heart of Reid Park. She says now she feels heard.
“Everyone is just completely thrilled that these lovely areas are going to stay and that these 95 foot trees are going to stay and still be, you know, available to the public,” she said.
Jessica Flax agrees, adding this decision is a big win.
“The main concern was the loss of green space and the effect that would have on the people of Tucson,” Flax told KGUN9.
Enrique Zepeda comes to the park with his boys and is thankful the new plan will preserve the north and south ponds, while also expanding the zoo to the north and northwest.
“I think it’s very, very important. It looks very pretty. Good for the trees as well and it’s very nice. Very nice spot,” Zepeda said.
While some celebrated the decision, Councilman Steve Kozachik disagreed with the change in plans.
He was the only one opposing the D-G hybrid expansion plan.
“Option D is supposed to cost 3.6M dollars. Those are additional dollars, plus another year of design. Option G was 15-25 in new costs. The reality is we don’t know how much these new designs are going to cost us,” he said during the virtual meeting.
- A northwest expansion into Reid Park
- A slight impact to parking spaces
- Reducing the available green space from 4.5 acres to 2 acres
- One year delay
- A northern expansion into existing parking spaces and the Therapeutic Recreation building
- Figuring out other parking alternatives
- 2-3 year delay requiring a new Zoo Master Plan
While both may come with additional costs, some say the costs are well worth it.
“You know you really can’t put a price on public park land like that,” said Flax.
“COVID changed everything and reminded us of what’s important. So at this point we need to preserve whatever low park space we have,” added Getsi.
On April 21, the final stakeholders meeting took place to allow for further input from the community regarding the expansion.
On March 9, Mayor and Council voted to pause the zoo expansion for 45 days to allow for community input, according to a news release from the City of Tucson.
On March 3, Mayor Romero called for the pause in order for the city and community to discover a resolution together.
In 2017, voters approved a one cent tax to every ten dollars for a 10-year expansion plan.