The Potawatomi Zoo proposes new partnership - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

The Potawatomi Zoo proposes new partnership

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At the Potawatomi Zoo, there's something for all ages. Kids say they love the animals and adults say they love having a place to take the family. 

That's the service Potawatomi Zoological Society Director, Marcy Dean says she wants to continue. She says the best way to do that is by changing to a public-private partnership model. "The city of South Bend would still own the land, the building and the animals here at Potawatomi Zoo. And the day-to-day operations of the zoo would be under one organization that would be the Potawatomi Zoological Society, as a non-profit."

Currently the Potawatomi Zoo operates under the city of South Bend-through the Parks and Recreation department, but Dean says the switch would save the city and zoo money. Which would benefit YOU, the visitor. "Visitors would see more efficiencies throughout the zoo, better food and gift opportunities. They would see more new exhibits, more new attractions and improvements to the existing exhibits here "

Dean says the new model would also make for a smoother accreditation process in 2014. Something she says is vital. "Those species and those critters will be placed at AZA accredited zoos throughout the U.S. Therefore several animals in our collection would be gone, so we definitely want to maintain that accreditation."

At the Parks Department, director Phil St. Clair says he's not opposed to the proposal, but it's early in the process. "We've got a good working relationship, we're just trying to sort through the type of language in an agreement that might ultimately be the best fit. "

He wants an agreement that benefits everyone. "We want to make sure that all the elements in a partnership are going to work favorably for the society as well as for the city."

And Dean is confident the current proposal would do just that. "It's a win-win for everyone."

Mayor Buttigieg says he's reviewing the Society's proposal to the Common Council. More details will be shared about the proposal with the city council on May 9th. It's a public meeting and Dean encourages anyone with questions or concerns to attend.

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