Lake Superior Zoo to Open Next Week

By KBJR News 1

July 6, 2012 Updated Jul 6, 2012 at 2:34 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Senator Klobuchar says she couldn't believe the marked progress that's been made so far in the clean up.

"The flowers are starting to bloom again at the zoo. The lions and tigers are being themselves, the kangaroos are out, so there's a lot going on at the zoo today," said Klobuchar.

Lake Superior Zoo CEO Sam Maida says he owes much of it to the hard work of volunteers: "The work they did was great. The time they did it in was unbelievable, and we can't give them enough credit."

And efforts have paid off, as zoo staff claims they're confident the zoo will partially reopen, at the latest, by next weekend.

"...which I thought—I think no one thought—was possible a few weeks ago," said Klobuchar.

...but there's still much work to be done. Damage assessments are still being reviewed, the city is still checking the numbers, and there's no certainty FEMA will pull through for the zoo.

"Again, that'll be up to FEMA, and it's also up to the city, [and] how they do their calculations. There's some private insurance, as well, that always kicks in first," said Klobuchar.

Still, Senator Klobuchar reassures that congressional support is across the board: "The entire Congressional Delegation has stepped in and said this request should be granted. And so we are now awaiting word from the administration."

But, according to Klobuchar, it's important to remember that the devastation seen here, at the zoo, is only a microcosm of what's been seen around the Northland.

"The zoo may have captured the hearts of people not only in the U.S., but across the world, but this was about people who have lost their livelihoods. [They're] very difficult times for the people of Duluth, and the surrounding areas," said Klobuchar.

...a feeling on which zoo staff agrees.

"we're a part of this community, and we want to make sure that we're able to get back, and then give back," said Maida.

In Duluth, Billy Wagness the Northland's NewsCenter.

Maida says, while he is confident in the zoo's ability to reopen by next weekend, he says certain portions will have to remain closed to the public, until they can be repaired and determined safe.