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Blank Park Zoo Planning to Double Its Size

Des Moines Register

January 28, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Des Moines Register.]

Des Moines' Blank Park Zoo is planning an expansion project that officials hope will make it one of the region's top tourist attractions.

Zoo officials on Thursday announced they will conduct a feasibility study for an adjacent park that would more than double the 22-acre zoo.

"Our board is committed to making this zoo the best it can be," said Terry Rich, head of the Blank Park Zoo Foundation. "Our next step will be presenting the ideas to neighbors and community leaders to determine our direction."

Officials said the zoo will likely expand into Fort Des Moines Park, though they did not elaborate on specific ideas for the land.

The announcement came after the foundation heard a presentation Thursday from Bassett and Associates, a firm hired to study the zoo's possible expansion.

Jim Bassett, the firm's president, said that the zoo can't continue its success without expanding.

The foundation has scheduled two public hearings for the issue: Feb. 16 and 22.