Tampa OKs $6.5 million loan for Lowry Park Zoo's new vet center

01/09/14 Janelle Irwin
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Tags: Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa City Council


Holland and Knight's Mike Weineris representing Lowry Park Zoo.

photo by Janelle Irwin

Lowry Park Zoo is planning a six and a half million dollar addition to the park and using Tampa’s bonding authority to secure the loan. During the meeting Thursday, Mike Weiner from the law firm Holland and Knight told city council members what that money would be buying.

“The acquisition and construction, renovation and equipping of a veterinary hospital, animal holding, primate holding, commissary and science center or CDC quarantine holding and necropsy facilities and the Florida Interpretation Center.”

The funding is being borrowed from SunTrust – not the City of Tampa. Instead, council approved the issuance of what’s called an Industrial Development Revenue Note to Lowry Park Zoo. That type of bond is used commonly on infrastructure projects. There’s no risk or cost to Tampa taxpayers. City Council member Mike Suarez said Tampa’s zoo is one of few in the country that mostly pays its own way.

“And they do not come to the well very often to ask us for a whole lot of stuff. This is something that is very easy for us to do.”

Zoo officials hope to have the project completed by early next year in preparation for a visit from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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