Common Council to take up possible zoo changes Thursday - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Common Council to take up possible zoo changes Thursday

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Big changes could be in the works at South Bend's Potawatomi Zoo. And the zoo's director says those changes would ultimately benefit its visitors.

But before the zoo and the city switch to a possible public-private partnership, the idea will have some hurdles to get over. The first step is a discussion at Thursday night's Common Council meeting, which will be held at the County City Building at 5:30 p.m.

Zoo director Marcy Dean told FOX 28 last week how she envisions the possible change working.

"The City of South Bend would still own the land, the building and the animals here at the Potawatomi Zoo," she said. "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."

The zoo currently operates under the city through the Parks and Recreation Department, but a switch would save the zoo and the city money and help offer more attractions for visitors, according to Dean.

"They would see more efficiencies throughout the zoo -- better food and gift opportunities," she said. "They would see more new exhibits, more new attractions and improvements to the existing exhibits."

Mayor Pete Buttigieg stopped by the FOX 28 Morning Show Thursday to talk about a number of different issues. He says he's open to the idea, but the zoo and the Common Council need to talk things out first.

"Some cities have taken this approach and found that it's led to improvements, but that's not a guarantee," he said. "It only works if it's really well thought through. Any arrangement going forward has to be something that has support in the community. It has to be an arrangement that does right by the people that work at the zoo right now."

FOX 28 will be following this story and will bring you more information as it becomes available on air and online at FOX28.com.

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