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New plan proposed for Reid Park Zoo expansion

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TUCSON (KVOA) - A new plan has been proposed for the expansion of Reid Park Zoo.

The zoo expansion has been a thorny issue since last winter when Tucson residents claimed they were blindsided by plans to expand the zoo into popular areas like the duck pond.

Mark Mayer from the Julia Keen Neighborhood Association came up with the plan with architect Bob Vint. They say it is a win-win.

"We believe we have a concept that solves a lot of the problems the city is facing with this conflict," Vint said.

The plan preserves all of the park's green space, including the popular south duck pond and Barnum Hill.

The biggest change?

Under "G minor," a city storage yard will be moved so that the zoo can expand north.

The expansion will be connected to the existing zoo with a bridge.

"It's planned as a two-spanned thin-shelled concrete bridge over which you fill with earth to make it level. [It is] also handicap accessible," Vint said. "And, you can plant trees on the bridge because it has 16 feet of earth on it.

The new plan will also save some of the parking spaces.

"We do eliminate some parking spaces, but half as much of their plan would. And we plan a realignment in some of those blank places there," Mayer said. "So we think we have a three-quarter solution to the parking.

Proponents said that the cost is comparable to the plan being advanced by the city.

"We think our plan would cost an extra $1.5 million beyond that $23 million," Vint explained.

The mayor and city council will review this latest plan at their Tuesday study session.

Several neighborhood associations have already come out in support of it.

Shelle Jackson

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