Sacramento councilman wants to plan for possibility of keeping zoo in city

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A Sacramento City Council member is trying to rally support for a last ditch effort to keep a local landmark in place: the Sacramento Zoo. 

The zoo is too small to stay in Land Park, which has been known for a while. But when a new site didn’t present itself in Sacramento, the zoo headed for Elk Grove. 

“We love it. We live close by; this whole little network of Fairytale Town and everything is nice for parents with young kids,” Becca Hawkins said. 

For Hawkins, Will and Bo, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect outing at the Sacramento Zoo on a sunny December morning. But even with the convenience, she sees the writing on the wall. 

“They can’t keep growing and I think that it’s about the animals,” Hawkins said. 

The Sacramento Zoological Society made the same case, announcing in September an exclusive negotiating agreement with the city of Elk Grove to find a new location that would allow for critically-needed space for larger animal habitats. 

The site Elk Grove has its eye on is just off Highway 99 on Kammerer Road. It would allow the Sacramento Zoo to grow to 60 acres, more than triple the current size.

“It was a complete surprise to us at the city. There was a little bit of upset about that,” Councilmember Jeff Harris said. 

Harris acknowledges Sacramento dropped the ball when it came to finding alternative sites for the zoo, but as he made clear at Tuesday’s meeting, he’s not ready to give up. 

The zoo’s agreement with Elk Grove ends in March. If they can’t come to an arrangement, Harris wants Sacramento to be ready with a viable alternative. 

“Major cities have amenities, and those amenities make that city attractive. That’s why we built DOCO, that’s why we built G1C, to make our city more attractive,” Harris said. 

There was no vote at Tuesday’s meeting. However, Harris plans to formally request city staff to study alternative zoo sites. He said he would bring the issue up for vote as soon as the last city council meeting of the year. 

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