Councilwoman Chauna Banks wants to rally the Metro Council to support a legislative bill that would prohibit BREC from moving the Baton Rouge Zoo. This despite the fact BREC’s Board of Commissioners has already voted to keep the zoo at its present location in Greenwood Park.
Banks is requesting an emergency hearing during today’s Metro Council meeting to discuss and vote on an expression of support for House Bill 481 by State Rep. Barbara Carpenter, a north Baton Rouge Democrat.
The bill—filed while BREC officials were proposing to move the zoo to the Fairgrounds on Airline Highway—amends the current state law that created BREC to prohibit the agency from “acquiring, leasing, developing, operating or managing” a zoo unless it is located in a certain location.
That area is bound by Thomas Road, Highway 19, Lavey Lane and Plank Road, which includes primarily Greenwood Park.
The legislation is meant to ensure stability for the zoo at its current location and protect the welfare of animals, says Banks, adding recurring efforts to relocate the facility would deter investment.
“As long as its existence in its current location is being threatened in that way, it’s very difficult to build the economic development entity that we know is sustainable,” she says.
The House Committee on Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs is scheduled to hear the bill during its 9 a.m. meeting on Friday.
The council meets at 4 p.m. on the third floor of City Hall at 222 St. Louis St.