New Bedford zoo unveils expansion plan

By Dan McDonald / The Standard-Times

NEW BEDFORD — The Buttonwood Park Zoo on Thursday publicly presented its draft master plan, an initiative that could cost $12 million, expand exhibit space by 4 acres, bring in another elephant and other exhibits that could feature tigers and snow monkeys, and make the zoo more financially self-sufficient.

The plan, however, has already drawn opposition from the Friends of Buttonwood Park, a nonprofit group that dedicates itself to stewardship of the park where the zoo is located.

The group’s president, Louis Garibaldi, told those in attendance at the draft master plan’s public unveiling Thursday night that “there’s an assumption that the space is free to take.”

“There hasn’t been any discussion of the master plan to the park,” said Garibaldi.

Garibaldi said the group “recognizes the zoo as a valuable asset” but opposes “the new plans as presented as it extends the zoo’s footprint north of the existent boundary.”

Dr. William R. Langbauer, the zoo’s director, said the park master plan is more than 20 years old and doesn’t take into account the very presence of the zoo.

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September 24, 2010

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