NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Mayor Karl Dean and the Metro Council gave the Nashville Zoo $10 million to support major new developments, zoo officials said Thursday.
However, the city’s investment is contingent on the zoo’s ability to match the funds dollar for dollar with private philanthropic support.
“Mayor Karl Dean has been a strong advocate of the Zoo, and our growth would not have been possible without his support,” said President Rick Schwartz. “The city’s contribution will be used toward infrastructure improvements that are imperative as we move forward with our Grow Wild campaign.”
The $10 million is the same amount and comes with the same stipulations as the money allocated to the zoo by the city in 2014.
“The Nashville Zoo is one of the most visited attractions in Davidson County,” said Mayor Dean. “Metro Government is proud to invest in the Zoo, which is well on its way to becoming a world-class destination. I’m confident that the Zoo will raise funds to match the city’s contribution again and become even more of an educational center for Nashville’s residents and visitors.”
The Grow Wild campaign began in 2014. It’s a multi-year effort to bring signature animal species to Nashville and increase the zoo’s capacity.
Phase I of the campaign is underway and includes the development of Andean bear, spider monkey and giant otter exhibits, the renovation of the current tiger and elephant exhibits, a new veterinary hospital, an education annex, and the acquisition of rhinos.
Phase II will focus on the development of an African savannah, and Phase III will highlight African forest animals and include a state-of-the-art gorilla habitat.