City Officials See Opportunity to Pay for More Work at Tulsa Zoo

Oct 9, 2018


City of Tulsa officials want to use savings from one sales tax–funded project at the zoo to help pay for another.

They’ve initiated a process to allocate $850,000 in savings from building the Lost Kingdom exhibit toward a playground renovation also in the Tulsa Zoo's 20-year master plan. 2014's Improve Our Tulsa package included $3.75 million for tiger and snow leopard exhibits that are in Lost Kingdom.

Grants and Capital Planning Manager Gary Hamer said they first looked for funding deficits in the existing Improve Our Tulsa sales tax project list.

"We try to shore up those shortfalls in the other projects first before we add anything new, but we were able to cover most of those. And so, the desire for the city administration was to move forward, given that there was a good opportunity to get some additional private funds," Hamer said.

Allocating the playground funding would help the Tulsa Zoo secure matching funds for the project. But officials can't move funds around as they did for other Improve Our Tulsa projects.

"Those were already existing projects. The reason why we’re doing this is that project didn’t exist in the 2014 sales tax. So, the way the ordinance requires that we have to go through an amendment process to add it," Hamer said.

The city council must approve change. It does not meet this week.