By Elspeth Mizner
ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – The Erie Zoo has been busy working to regain its accreditation over the past year, but they still don’t have a timeline for when they will reapply for it.
Tuesday, zoo officials accepted a $250,000 state grant to help build a family restroom, an upgrade that zoo officials said is necessary. The grant money will also be used to help reconstruct a viewing area for the African Wild Dogs. These are two things the zoo is doing to help regain accreditation.
In addition to these steps to help regain accreditation, the zoo has also completed an economic impact study, are working with a pathways coach with the AZA and are working to create a strategic plan. But, officials at the zoo said they still have a ways to go until they feel ready to reapply for accreditation.
As Roo Kojancie, the COO of the Erie Zoo explained, “It’s all about managing expectations. We want to, when we go back for accreditation we want to nail it with flying colors. We want to make sure that when we go for accreditation not only do we get it, but we are in a solid place to maintain it for years to come, so we want to go about this the right way so we’re going to take each step as it comes.”
Last week, the Erie Zoo received a $3 million grant from the state to help build a new veterinary center.
Jeff Beach, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees said, “We really need to update our vet facilities, one of the things we took a hit on, you know we we didn’t take a hit on animal care, but you know the the the AZA, every year they definitely come up with more stricter standards, which is fine. We want to meet those standards, so a new vet facility was definitely needed separate areas from the necropsy, for quarantine, and for the regular diagnostic work that we do. We’re going to reach out to the community. we’re hoping to make that a community resource. We know a lot of people in the area have to travel to Pittsburgh or Cleveland to get certain diagnostic tests done, so we’re looking we’re exploring you know what we can do to help the community sort of people could have some of that stuff done here.”
Zoo officials said that getting more funding will continue to help them regain accreditation. “We are looking for capital funding, but also operational funding and that is what we want to do is modernized we want to create you need guest experiences and we want to be forward thinking so much to do that we need the ones to that”, explained Kojancie.
Officials said they want to take their time to make sure everything is correct before they reapply for accreditation.