Officials hope renovations at Baton Rouge Zoo will benefit surrounding neighborhoods
BATON ROUGE - BREC’s Greenwood park is in the middle of major renovations, and $40 million are going toward changes to the zoo.
Right now, phase one and phase two are underway. Phase one, is focused on improving infrastructure and health for the animals. Currently, the zoo has around 40 exhibits and over 400 animals. Through state of the art technology, the team is working to meet new industry standards.
Another part of the project, which is already underway, involves complete reconstruction of the main entrance way and relocating the main corridor. That will help with another problem in itself.
Jim Fleshman, the Baton Rouge Zoo Director, says traffic becomes an issue during events at the park and the zoo. The lack of parking results often results in no emergency entrances for EMS to access subdivisions along the south side of Thomas Road.
It’s also helping the area in other ways, including a large retention pond which will filter and carry water into the Cypress Bayou. With the help of new technology, oil, debris and other water pollutants will be filtered out.
The conservation efforts, in turn, have given the zoo more funding toward environmentally sound changes.
While physical changes are underway, Fleshman says improvements made at the zoo will stimulate a more immersive atmosphere, including working with students from Africa to create more authentic habitats for the animals.
Fleshman says some of the new and renovated exhibits could be ready as soon as the end of the year. And after seeing a drop in visitors this past year, the zoo hopes these changes will help fuel growth.
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