ELK GROVE (CBS13) — The Sacramento Zoo is one step closer to getting a new location. A six-month study is now complete and shows building a brand new zoo in Elk Grove is economically feasible.
"Right now, everyone acknowledges the zoo is too small," said Elk Grove City Manager Jason Behrmann. "They are at risk of losing their accreditation."
The facility would be located on vacant farmland along Kammerer Road. Last month, city leaders approved spending nine million dollars to purchase the property.
Now, zoo managers are unveiling ambitious plans to build 60 acres of animal habitat and attractions.
"We want to make this the best zoo in Northern California," said Jason Jacobs, executive director of the Sacramento Zoo.
The first focus would be on creating African savanna exhibits that could feature hundreds of animals including lions, rhinos and giraffes in much larger accommodations.
"By comparison, our giraffes right now have about a 13,000 sqft corral," Jacobs said. "With this, we're looking at increasing their space by at least ten-fold."
Construction of the first phase could cost more than $200 million. The city says funding would be a mix of ticket and parking fees, sponsorships, naming rights, city taxes and economic development funds.
"Our main focus is making sure that it doesn't become a burden on the city of Elk Grove," Behrmann said.
Some residents have expressed concerns over increased traffic and costs. Others say they welcome a new family-friendly attraction.
"Obviously as a parent of a young child, that opportunities like that to get them out of the house learn a little bit about nature, is a positive to me for sure," said parent Mark Berry.
The plans now need to be approved by the city before an environmental study can begin, and the zoo has even reached out to Netflix and other Hollywood producers to try and turn the construction into a reality TV series.
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