(KCPW News) The Salt Lake County Council is pondering whether to place nearly $85 million worth of bonds to upgrade two of Utah's top animal attractions on November's ballot. Tomorrow, council members will get an up close and personal look at those attractions when they tour Hogle Zoo and the Tracy Aviary.
"Our newer exhibits really show the direction that the zoo is turning as far as the master plan is concerned. We want to give the council members a real physical sense of the impact of the proposed improvements," says Hogle Zoo spokesperson Holly Braithwaite.
Braithwaite says the zoo wants to make sure council members are familiar with recently added exhibits, like the elephant and Asian highlands exhibits. The zoo is asking the council to place a $65 million bond on the ballot to complete its master plan, which includes a polar bear exhibit and upgrades to the animal hospital.
Tracy Aviary is asking the council for a $19.5 million bond. Executive Director Tim Brown says the aviary will show the council both recent improvements and glaring needs.
"For instance an old, abandoned, dilapidated pool about in the center of the aviary. It functioned as a pool in the 40's and 50's and long since has been abandoned and it serves absolutely no role for us," says Brown. "We just have antiquated exhibits due to a lack of investment over the many years and it's time to address that."
The aviary plans to use the bond to improve its outdoor amphitheater and create a walk-through rain forest, among other improvements.
The Salt Lake County Council will begin their tour at Tracy Aviary at 9am tomorrow. The council's decision on both bonds is expected to be made sometime in July.