TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — After months of community members fighting to protect the duck pond near Barnum Hill after the zoo expansion called to take over that area, the Reid Park Zoo expansion is officially on hold.
Mayor Regina Romero proposed the pause Wednesday.
Tucson City Council voted 6-`1 Tuesday to pump the brakes for 45 days. During that time, the city will host meetings with the community and zoo to find a common ground.
“More than 22,000 people that have requested that we take a pause that we look at what we're doing. I value the input of the community and I know that there's history,” said Mayor Regina Romero.
Just because the city is suspending the expansion, doesn’t mean the costs associated with the project will also stop.
"They are contracts between the city of Tucson and the designer and the city of Tucson and the construction manager at risk. And then of course there's the management agreement," said Mike Rankin, city attorney.
Rankin explained construction contract will cost the city an estimated sixty-five thousand dollars every month the expansion is on hold. He added the design contract won’t be impacted unless there is a redesign.
"There will obviously will be additional design costs above those that have already been incurred,” said Rankin.
Rankin explained the management agreement will be fulfilled through another process with public stakeholders, like the community and businesses involved.
The pause also doesn’t mean the project will stop altogether since taxpayers voted for a sales tax dedicated to capital improvements, maintenance, and operations.
In a statement to KGUN 9, Reid Park zoo said it's disappointed by the vote.
The statement reads:
“We remain committed to providing all Tucson citizens with the world-class Zoo promised to them in 2018. We are disappointed the projects are being delayed, but look forward to an open and productive dialogue with the stakeholders and the City of Tucson, working together to reach an acceptable resolution."