Advocate editorial board opinion: City attraction aims to improve its environs
Surviving a 500-year flood is an unforgettable experience. And unfortunately, it is also something many do not know how to prepare for until it actually happens.
That is the case with the Texas Zoo, which was covered with six feet of water in the 1998 flood, resulting in the deaths of 90 of their 310 animals and allowing an additional 70 to escape. Those that did survive were rescued by two zookeepers and police and fire department personnel.
Now the zoo has decided to work toward preventing this kind of devastation in the future by implementing flood measures suggested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency - which suggests raising the berms surrounding the zoo by a few feet - as well as expanding the facility to include a recreational area, an outdoor stage, more bathrooms and a concession stand.
Not only are zoo officials planning to make these improvements, but they also have developed an evacuation plan with other zoos so the animals can be housed safely if another massive flood strikes.
Andrea Blomberg, executive director of the Texas Zoo, says the plan has been released to raise awareness first, but there is still a lot of planning and organization that needs to happen.
"Ideally, something's got to start happening within the next six months," she said.
We agree this decision is a move in the right direction for the zoo. As caretakers for our zoo's animals, it is the zoo managers' responsibility to do whatever is necessary to keep them safe, and we applaud their willingness to move forward with this plan. We also look forward to seeing the areas planned in the expansion.
But as nice as these plans are, we know they also cost money. The zoo plans to raise the money through fundraising events, such as the Wild About Wine event in March.
Blomberg says there has been an overwhelmingly positive response to this plan from the community. She says the work is still in the planning phases, but already there have been offers to volunteer once the work begins.
"A lot of people have to come together to make this happen, but there has been lots of positive feedback from the community," she said.
We encourage members of the community to come out and support this special attraction in Victoria.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.