The Nashville zoo would like a metropolis-funded parking garage

Why the Nashville Zoo desires a metropolis-funded parking garage

Nashville Zoo Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

About the last 24 years, people have flocked to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere to pet the kangaroos, stand within just a handful of ft of an Andean bear or participate in on the city’s ideal jungle gym.

  • The zoo has come to be just one of Nashville’s major vacationer magnets and has won sector awards for innovative displays and financial management.
  • To aid gas much more progress, Nashville Mayor John Cooper has proposed $15 million towards a new parking garage, but the plan has gained significant pushback in the Metro Council.

Why it issues: Zoo president and CEO Rick Schwartz tells Axios the new parking garage is the lynchpin of its ambitious $185 million expansion that will contain a very first-of-its-form African river safari in which website visitors will board a boat to float among animals.

  • Continued growth is impossible without the new 1,044-area parking structure, Schwartz states. And the zoo’s strategies for a fundraising marketing campaign to assist finance its expansion depend on the garage being designed.

Context: As Nashville grapples with its tourism status, the relatives-welcoming zoo in south Nashville presents an choice fully independent from light beer and George Strait covers.

  • In between 2009 and 2019, the zoo’s attendance much more than doubled from 615,086 to above 1.2 million people, a lot more than the merged attendance at Predators and Titans house game titles in 2019. Attendance dropped to 544,000 last 12 months amidst the pandemic.
  • Schwartz tells Axios they anticipate 2 million site visitors yearly by 2027.
  • The zoo hasn’t been given Metro funding given that Mayor Karl Dean committed a mixed $26 million in infrastructure assignments in the course of his 8 many years in place of work, which ended in 2015.

What he’s stating: On the zoo’s busiest times, motor vehicles overwhelm its present parking heaps. It truly is not uncommon for traffic jams to cram up busy Nolensville Pike.

  • “Without this parking garage we are unable to only not develop, we won’t be able to sustain what we’re doing now,” Schwartz states.

The other aspect: Some Metro Council associates, led by Freddie O’Connell, questioned the huge money determination for zoo parking.

  • O’Connell tells Axios he is “incredibly professional-zoo.” But he states he’s “aghast” that Metro just isn’t paying out far more on bicycle lanes, sidewalks and bus routes.
  • He submitted an modification to reroute the resources Cooper earmarked for zoo parking to rather be put in on individuals modes of transportation.
  • A opportunity compromise would incorporate $15 million to the cash paying out system for these priorities although retaining the zoo parking funding.


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