First the Boston Globe is hanging by a thread (if it goes, we’ll be stuck with the awful
Boston Herald as our only newspaper), and now this!
About 20 years ago they tried to cut costs by closed the Stone Zoo, and the people rallied behind it, raising funds and keeping it going, eventually building it back up, until now the Stone Zoo is a pretty decent zoo, with a brand new Bear habitat and a brand-new gibbon house, in addition to all the other features, and it has been re-integrated with the Franklin Park Zoo into the Boston Zoo system.
The Franklin Park Zoo, too, has come a huge way since I was able to walk all the way through it without eeing a single animal (back in the 1970s), with the Tropical World habitat addede about 20 years ago, and many other things since.
Now it’s all going to go away, if this budget holds. It’s not just an added luxury – I think the Franklin Park Zoo is a big reason people go down to what would otherwise be a pretty dead area. It keeps interest up, monet coming in, and crime down. And closing it would be a bad sign – if Boston has to close its zoo, what else will it lose? How bad is it off financially?
I think that’s the Boston Art Gallery.
I lived in Cambridge for 2 years and near Boston all my life and wasn’t really aware that there were zoos there. Huh. Always just went to the MoS I guess.
And Pepper Mill and MillCal had just visited the Stone Zoo on the day they made the announcement.
This is really the pits.
I’m not saying that zoos are more important that police, fire, and education services. But I’m going to look at every questionable expenditure from now on and thin “For
this you closed the zoo?”
What kind of message does this send about Boston’s supposed World-Class status?
Contrast that with
this. They could build one less plane, fund the zoo, and have $344 million left over. I know, I know, not really a fair comparison.
I haven’t been to the Franklin Park zoo in a few years, but it would be a real shame if they closed it. And aren’t the union electricians and construction workers still getting $200,000+ salaries from the state?
The Zoo has issued official statements:
There are no plans for the Zoo to euthanize any animals in the collection as a result of the budget cuts. As the original statement explains, IF the Zoos were to close to the public and control of the Zoos reverted back to the Commonwealth (as described in Massachusetts General Law 92B), it would take 2-3 years to place as many of the Zoos’ animals as possible in other facilities, and it would not be possible to place an estimated 20% of them. Under this scenario, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts - NOT Zoo New England - would be faced with the prospect of choosing between two options for the animals that could not be placed: caring for these animals for many years to come or euthanizing them.
Failing to over-ride the governor’s veto is projected to cost the state more than twice the supposed $4 million “savings” in direct FY10 expenses – such as staffing costs, utilities, food and veterinary care for the animals, and property maintenance - and millions more in subsequent years.
Zoo New England does not have other funds committed that would enable the zoos to remain open if this veto remains in effect. It was reported in February 2009 that Zoo New England has planned a significant expansion of the Zoos. The Zoos have in fact completed a strategic master plan that would be executed over a 10-year period (the plan’s creation was funded by private foundations, not the Commonwealth). To help fund some of the facilities improvements called for in this plan, Zoo New England was authorized to receive up to $30 million in capital funding– not operating funding – from the Commonwealth over a 5-year period as part of a 2008 General Obligations bond. As is always the case with bond funding, the governor determines how much, if any, funds are to be released to pay for specific projects called for in the legislation that created the bond. To date, Zoo New England has not received any of these funds.
Zoo New England will be providing no further comment at this time.