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story.lead_photo.caption FILE - Ian Kintz, 3, waves to Zaara, the sloth bear cub, in her habitat on Sunday, May 12, 2019, at the Little Rock. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/THOMAS METTHE -- 5/12/2019 ( Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Thomas Metthe)

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and the Arkansas Zoological Foundation on Monday announced the creation of a task force that will study planning and development for the city’s zoo.

The “Task Force for the Zoo’s Future,” part of Scott’s initiative to consider the future of the War Memorial Park area, will scrutinize the zoo’s business model and facilities master plan and develop a funding action plan, according to a news release by the city.

The zoo's master plan was initially developed in 2014, and members of the new team will consider new strategies in park and animal habitat design, as well as guest amenities, officials said.

“As one of the largest tourist attractions in the state and the only accredited zoo in Arkansas, the Little Rock Zoo is an important part of War Memorial Park and our City,” Scott said.

According to the release, task force members will include:

• Brad Cazort, Chair of the Zoo Board of Governors

• Lisa Buehler, Chair of the Arkansas Zoological Foundation

• State Sen. Joyce Elliott, Vice-Chair of the Mayor’s Quality of Life Subcommittee for the Scott Script

• Kathy Webb, City Ward 3 Director and liaison to the Zoo Board of Governors

• Jessica Poynter, Chair, Generation Zoo Young Professionals

• Chad Causey, Causey Law Firm, Board Member, Arkansas Zoological Foundation

• Dr. Andrew Rogerson, Chancellor, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

• Hank Kelley, CEO/Partner, Flake & Kelley Commercial

• Tab Townsell, Executive Director, Metroplan

• Rhonna Wade, Chair, Create Little Rock

• Gretchen Hall, Executive Director, Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau

• Brandon Bibby, Associate AIA, WER Architects/Planners

• Nate Coulter, Director, Central Arkansas Library System

Zoo Director Susan Altrui, City Manager Bruce Moore, and Jay Chessir, President and CEO of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce are to serve in ex-officio roles, officials said. According to the release, Schultz & Williams, a “zoo consulting firm” will support the task force with business planning regarding public-private partnerships. The Arkansas Zoological Foundation contracted the firm for $26,000 excluding travel expenses, according to officials.


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Archived Comments

  • ozena
    July 22, 2019 at 2:09 p.m.

    I love our zoo and I know everything costs money but the zoo has gotten too expensive for families to visit. The Memphis zoo is free on Tuesdays.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    July 22, 2019 at 2:39 p.m.

    I can tell you I was born and raised primarily here.
    But I've lived all over Arkansas.
    I've heard of the LR Zoo, never been.
    But I've been to the Memphis zoo, the Tulsa zoo.
    I've never seen a commercial for the Little Rock Zoo. Maybe theyve been on radio I think.
    Kids want to see this on TV.
    They NEED to know we got this in our backyard.
    They GENTRY ZOO get more "air time" probably. lol
    So when anyone asked me, even on the right, why im so riled...
    Where does the money go? Taxed to death and its all for roads...
    It goes to Iraq
    It goes to Turkey
    It goes to Afghanistan
    A investment in blood, life and constitution.
    Here have a motor bike, dont speed into traffic since we change the law that says you can.
    #Marxism #TotallynotGenocide

    July 22, 2019 at 3:04 p.m.

    Careful, OZENA -- the mayor closed golf courses that didn't break even. The Zoo or the War Memorial Fitness Center could be next. Certain parks have to make money (or at least not cost anything - apparently). Along with the golf course, the Zoo and Fitness Center occupy prime development real estate just asking to be "repurposed."

  • 1a2345
    July 22, 2019 at 4:45 p.m.

    Maybe Frank Scott could lose his extremely expensive and absolutely unneeded PERSONAL SECURITY DETAIL that has cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars so far this year alone. Where and who is his security risk? Why is the police department and or state police not investigating the danger to Frank Scott that justify his personal security detail?? Maybe Frank could save the city money by having the city busses stop going west of 630??
    Maybe he could have saved money by NOT BUYING HIS SECURITY DETAIL A NEW 2019 TAHOE. We have our very own Ray NAGIN right here in Little Rock........

  • LR1955
    July 22, 2019 at 4:46 p.m.

    If anybody try’s to cut the zoo’s budget or do away with it, I’m gonna be all over them like dung on a beetle. I say convert the old WM golf course into some larger plains animal exhibits.

  • LR1955
    July 22, 2019 at 4:48 p.m.

    Or house some short sentence DOC prisoners there, trusty types, let them care for the critters.

  • DANNY46
    July 22, 2019 at 7:32 p.m.

    You people that like the zoo better enjoy it while you can. Your new Mayor has it in his gun sights and it will be gone!!!

  • RBBrittain
    July 23, 2019 at 12:47 p.m.

    Nah, nah, I think Mayor Scott is just trying to make the zoo work financially; there's lots of golf courses in Arkansas, but only one zoo. Worst-case scenario IMO? Asa adds it to former city director Stacy Hurst's ever-growing state empire, which now includes the nearby stadium.