May 17, 2010
Hogle Zoo says everything is on the “up and up” in its plans for a new restaurant. But not everyone is happy.
Recently the zoo asked the public for a $33 million bond after raising some private money, too. Now some of that private money is going to build a new restaurant.
But Salt Lake County Councilman David Wilde has concerns about that because about 50 percent of the Hogle Zoo’s budget is taxpayer money.
“I think they need to be thinking about how is the public going to look at this because, doggone it, this is the public’s money,” he says.
Wilde says the council and the public got the impression that the money would be used for animal exhibits.
He’s also worried that the deal doesn’t look good.
“A big part of this private money came from this concession company, and now it looks like when we agreed to get this money from you, there was a deal all along that first thing we’ll do is build a restaurant to help you with this business,” he explains.
But the zoo’s director tells the Salt Lake Tribune he’s comfortable with how they have chosen to spend the money and says the zoo needs to take care of animal and people needs at the same time.
The Tribune reports “Tembo Terrace” is set to be built this fall after workers tear down the zoo’s 15-year-old Butterfly Gardens building to make room for it.