UTICA – The Utica Zoo is one step closer to achieving accreditation from the Associations of Zoos and Aquariums with the help of county funding.
Oneida County will be giving $300,000 to the Utica Zoo over a two-year period to help the zoo complete maintenance and rehabilitation efforts before it’s inspected this summer to secure the accreditation. The zoo submitted its application to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on Feb. 24.
Last month Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente requested that the funding be allocated to the zoo, and the Oneida County Board of Legislators approved the measure at its monthly meeting on Wednesday.
“The Utica Zoo has been serving the region for more than 100 years, educating the children of our county and bringing joy to families near and far,” Picente said in a news release. “The zoo has made unprecedented strides to correct its financial situation and put itself on a path of growth that will benefit the entire Mohawk Valley.”
Picene says the zoo needs the county funding in order to cover the costs of maintenance that have been deferred for more than 20 years, and the county is happy to invest in the zoo’s effort.
The $300,000 will be split into two $150,000 disbursements, which comes from unanticipated revenue in the county’s appropriated fund balance, according to Picente.
“The Utica Zoo staff, board and volunteers are cognizant of the revitalization and excitement surrounding Oneida County and the Greater Mohawk Valley Region,” said Utica Zoo Executive Director Andria Heath, in part, in a news release. “We are thrilled to contribute to this resurgence by being a tourist destination, provider of quality of life for local residents and an employer whose full-time workforce has grown by 19 new positions since 2010.”
In 2016, the Utica Zoo released its new master plan that included 20 years’ worth of enhancements at the zoo. For more information on the zoo’s master plan, click here.