Zoo gets federal upgrades

By Kelsey Gibbs | kgibbs@wcia.com

Published 06/30 2014 10:43AM

Updated 06/30 2014 11:25AM

DECATUR -- Governor Pat Quinn announced 47 museums, as well as attractions across the state, will receive $20 million. The investment will help attract more visitors, boost tourism and create jobs. One of those facilities benefiting is Decatur's Scovill Zoo. WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs tells us how.

"I saw the wolf."

Lucas is 4-years old and he enjoys his trips to the zoo with his grandma. Lucas says the best part is seeing the animals.


"What's your favorite animal?"

"Yeah, lizards."

But, Scovill Zoo is going to be getting a lot better thanks to a federal grant. It's set to receive over $400,000 in state funding to help fix some needy areas. Assistant Zoo Director Ken Frye says these are things the zoo has long needed.

"We always have a wish list. We're looking at one year, two years in advance and in five years in advance, and these items for all are on that wish list."

The museum grants are part of Governor Quinn's $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! Program which will support more than 400,000 jobs over six years.

"Through the archway here right behind me on the left hand side, we're going to do a walk-through bird aviary. You turn right, we're looking at putting in a pavilion for our concessions area."

Hopefully, sometime next year when people come and visit the zoo, they will notice that this walkway will extend to the amphitheater but not just that. The zoo will welcome a new crown crane exhibit right below the deck.

"Of course, that walkway will be ADA-accessible for everybody to go enjoy any kind of programming that we do on the little amphitheater that we have over there."

The list of repairs dates back years.

"In these are things that may have not have happened for the next five years if we haven't got it. We hoped that we would have done them eventually anyway once the funding became available."

Construction is set to begin in the fall of 2015.

Other facilities receiving funding:
Museum of the Grand Prairie - $200,000+
Virginia Theatre - $700,000

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