Council seeks to address Honolulu Zoo's longtime funding woes - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Council seeks to address Honolulu Zoo's longtime funding woes

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Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi (Image: Hawaii News Now) Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Image: Hawaii News Now Image: Hawaii News Now
Image: Hawaii News Now Image: Hawaii News Now
Image: Hawaii News Now Image: Hawaii News Now
WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The City Council is seeking to create a special fund for the Honolulu Zoo and is eying other options to address the destination's ongoing funding concerns.

The discussions come a month after the zoo lost its national accreditation because of a lack of consistent funding.

"We want to make it a really pleasant experience to go to the zoo," said Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi.

Bill 30 would create a special zoo fund, where entrance fees, rents, donations and other revenues would be deposited. Previously, the zoo pooled revenues with the Blaisdell Center and Waikiki Shell.

“Bill 30 would create a fund to provide the Honolulu Zoo with a dedicated and sustainable source of funding," said Council Chairman Ernie Martin. "The fund would pay for the operation, repair, maintenance and improvement of its facilities, as well as the salaries of employees, acquisition of animals and other related expenses."

But onlookers note that if dedicating resources is key to re-accrediting the zoo, increasing revenues is key to revitalizing it. The council is also looking to address the zoo's aging facilities and lack of parking.

"We want to maybe add another floor to that parking lot. Landscape it, make it really nice. Then it doubles the parking revenue," Kobayashi said.

More parking also means more visitors through the zoo's turnstiles.

Kobayashi says the council has set aside about $500,000 for planning and design of a parking structure. She noted all options are being considered because the zoo's next chance for re-accreditation is only 11 months away.

Bill 30 passed its first reading, and now heads to the Council Budget Committee.

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