Chaffee Zoo Improvements

December 9, 2008 7:49:22 PM PST
The present and the future of Fresno's Chaffee Zoo were on the agendas of both the City Council and the County Board of Supervisors and on everyone's mind is why is likely to be several more years before the changes supported by Fresno County voters actually take place. One tenth of one percent on each of your holiday purchases, in fact every taxable thing you buy all year long, in Fresno County goes to fund improvements at Roeding Park and eventually it will flow to expansion plans at the Chaffee Zoo in Fresno's Roeding Park.But Measure Z expansion won't happen until the city's environmental impact report, or E-I-R, is completed and then approved. At City Hall in downtown Fresno the City Council gave the nod to continue funding the process headed by Kevin Fabino in the planning department, "There are some still critical pieces out there that we are moving fast and furiously as possible to get answers to." Fabino's job is to insure that the E-I-R is legal and can support plans for new boundaries inside Roeding Park.

Among the tasks are an historical resource survey and a comprehensive tree survey. Expanding the zoo means change for this park Zoo Director, Lewis Greene told Action News the goal is to make any change to the park's setting very carefully, "We're about nature and one of the things we have to be cognizant and responsible in is how we move forward in making the zoo better."

At the County Hall of Records the Board of Supervisors was hearing from the County Zoo Authority about how Measure Z tax dollars are currently being spent. The E-I-R is one such expense. The cost is being shared by the city and the independent zoo corporation.

Fabino won't offer up a firm date for its completion saying, "Well within the next year that I think I can say with absolute certainty." That date determines what happens next at the Zoo and how quickly says Greene, "Once that's done then hopefully we're able to put a shovel in the ground and get going." Don't look for it any time soon. Greene told county supervisors it isn't likely to happen before 2010.

Once completed and approved by the Fresno City Council there will be a 45 day period for public comments on the E-I-R document.

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