City councilman proposes privatizing Mesker Park Zoo - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

City councilman proposes privatizing Mesker Park Zoo

HENDERSON, KY (WFIE) -

Mesker Park Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Evansville is the city's biggest tourist attraction, but its revenue doesn't equate to what the city puts into its annual operations budget.

City Councilman Jonathan Weaver has raised the idea of privatizing the zoo's operations.

Public records indicate the city funded over $4.8 million for the zoo this year, but the zoo only brought $1.1 million in revenue.

Weaver says that $3 million loss got him thinking.  He said tax dollars are tight and so is next year's fiscal budget.

The Councilman pitched the zoological society should take over operations as a private non-profit, while the city should still provide some public money and keep ownership of the zoo.

"For the Zoological Society, one of their challenges may be finding that consistent independent funding source, where that source right now is the city," Weaver told us.

Weaver said the city hasn't named an official business model for Evansville's biggest tourist attraction.

It's a story we'll continue to follow.

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