Council helps bridge shortfall in funding for grizzly bear pen
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — After the bid for the construction of the new grizzly bear pen at Wildwood Zoo came in higher than expected, the city will move funds around to bridge the approximately $83,000 shortfall.
Funds for the bear pen project have been largely raised through private donations and also include $90,000 from the city in the form of room tax funds. Between donations and room tax money, the project has raised about $1,226,000, but the estimated cost of completing the project is now about $1,309,000.
The city will use $5,000 from the now dissolved Sustainable Marshfield Committee, $30,000 from the Zoo Society, and $48,000 will come from delaying the construction of a storage facility on the zoo property, which was initially planned for this year, to make up the $83,000 gap. The hope would then be to build the zoo storage facility, called the Hackman Storage Building project, in 2016.
The Finance, Budget, and Personnel Committee approved the reallocation of funds on May 19, and the common council followed suit with unanimous approval on Tuesday night. Groundbreaking on the grizzly bear pen project occurred on Wednesday, May 27.
It was initially thought that private fundraising might be able to make up the funding shortfall, and City Administrator Steve Barg said that donations could still come in and allow the building of the Hackman Storage Building to occur this year.
“If we somehow get more donations or something unexpected happens, we may be able to reconsider (The Hackman Storage Building Project) in 2015. Otherwise we’ve kind of decided to surrender it for the greater good of getting the bear exhibit done,” Barg said. “Our No. 1 priority is getting that bear exhibit done, and we want nothing to stop that, and for the moment we’ll surrender the storage building.”