Monday, April 15, 2024
HomeLocal NewsHow millions in GRT funds are impacting the ABQ BioPark

How millions in GRT funds are impacting the ABQ BioPark

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Seven years, and more than $60 million later, the city is now about halfway through a 15-year tax to help spruce up the zoo and the rest of the BioPark. Over the next year, some of the biggest, most expensive projects are on deck.

“Just the fact they’re expanding this and bringing more in, I mean, the zoo is only going to grow from here,” said Albuquerque resident Kristine Staples. “I think that’s a really cool project. I mean, Malayan tigers, orangutans – that’s great.”

Monday marked the first time the Staples family visited Albuquerque’s zoo since moving to New Mexico, but they’ll be back soon after learning of the big changes coming in the next six months.

“We’re excited for our family to visit and take the little ones to see because what’s different to me from other zoos that I’ve been to is how close that you are,” Staples explained.

An unused nearly five-acre plot will soon transform into the new Asia exhibit with new homes for the orangutangs, Malayan tigers, and snow leopard. The hope is for a fall opening. It’s one of the largest projects the zoo has tackled, costing about $32 million. That makes up almost half of the total funds raised by the BioPark Tax since 2016.

Visitors are excited to see what comes of it and to see the animals get a bit more space to roam around.

“It would be nice to see a little bit larger area, maybe if the animals were a little more active,” said Farmington resident Jordan Richards.

One little girl said she would like to see more space and less lonely animals after the project is finished.

Guests are also excited to see the start of Phase One of the Australia exhibit. That will include a new, different little penguin and lorikeets. It’s expected to open early 2024.

In the rearview, BioPark has finished its new electric tram, updated its restrooms, and added a heated pool for the hippos.

“That’s going to be really exciting for our family to come to see,” Staples added.

The city declined interviews about BioPark’s projects ahead of a news conference Tuesday morning.

To see a report on the funds and projects, click here.

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