Plans to generate revenue for Lake Superior Zoo

By KBJR News 1

March 24, 2014 Updated Mar 24, 2014 at 7:05 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Recently, Duluth Mayor Don Ness has discussed the need for alternative revenue sources to support The Lake Superior Zoo.
The Zoo took a huge economic hit in the flood of 2012 and is struggling with finances after decreased attendance due to the loss the popular polar bear.

The plan to generate more revenue looks to be focused on trying to bring other attractions to the zoo to up the attendance.

Money was distributed after the 2012 flood to the zoo, but the Zoological society says it was not nearly enough to recover the lost exhibits at the zoo. The city makes a yearly contribution to the zoo as well as providing a line of credit to make up the funding gap. But last week Mayor Ness said other sources need to be found. He says one avenue being explored is a supplemental flood relief bill that has been drafted in the state legislature.

"The job in flood relief as it relates to the zoo is not over yet. The state needs to be in a position to step and provide that needed support so that the zoo can continue." said Mayor Don Ness.

The mayor also said that if a new proposed tourism tax goes through, some of the funds can help the zoo to make improvements.

The zoo has seen a loss of about 300 thousand dollars each year from the lack of attendance.

The mayor says they will request about eight million dollars.
It costs about 12 million to get a new polar bear, so instead that money could go toward a variety bear exhibit and a new amphitheater.