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Santa Maria residents voice concern over moving the Baton Rouge zoo

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BATON ROUGE - The debate on whether to move the baton rouge zoo continues.

BREC is proposing to move the facility from Baker to the fairgrounds off Airline Highway in Baton Rouge. This would put the zoo close to the Santa Maria neighborhood. Many residents are not on board. 

“The gut is not thrilled,” said Joel Tubre who moved to the neighborhood one year ago. “I moved here for the view. I worked from home and we love the view here and the area, so disrupt that and to affect property value, it’s a real concern.”

“It would literally be in my backyard,” adds Judith Johnson. “When the state fair is there we can hear everything from the state fair, and I'd imagine we'd hear everything from the zoo."

To address these concerns the Santa Maria Home Owners Association held a meeting, private from the media, with BREC board members and councilman Dwight Hudson.

Hudson says he heard a lot of concerns about potential flooding in the area.

“What BREC told me was that they are going to create positive floodplain storage, which is a good thing,” he said.

Weighing the pros and cons, Hudson hopes these meetings and the discussion will continue to make sure the right move is being made. Especially when it comes to funding.

“If they were going to pass taxes, [my constituents] it would be for traffic and drainage and not for a zoo,” he said. “That’s what BREC really needs to focus on; how do we pay for this and does it mean new taxes?"

The proposal to move the zoo is in the beginning stages. BREC says moving the zoo could bring in 125,000 more people to the facility and $11 million to East Baton Rouge Parish.


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