Advocate editorial board opinion: Texas Zoo has bound and determined leadership

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Aug. 27, 2010 at 3:27 a.m.
Updated Aug. 28, 2010 at 3:28 a.m.

We remember lamenting about the Texas Zoo losing its accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums a couple of years ago. At the time, the zoo was suffering greatly for leadership, falling into disrepair and lacking funds to stop its descent to oblivion. To put it frankly, many had lost faith in its ability to survive.

The wonderful little zoo nestled under tall trees and skirted by beautiful shrubs in Riverside Park, now, has a determined, excited and experienced professional at its helm.

We are pleased and excited to have Texas Zoo Director Andrea Blomberg managing one of Victoria's special attractions. She has been here a mere eight months and already noticeable changes have been made.

Blomberg, from Minnesota, brings her experience as a city councilwoman, business savvy sage and animal care manager abilities to the zoo and its 10-member board. She says lifting the zoo out of its bad status is a challenge. But already, if you go to the zoo, you'll find that it is cleaned up, attractive and more professional than ever - an environment that seems to be on a continuing path of improvement.

"My goal for the zoo is to have accreditation by 2012," she said.

The idea of adding members to the zoo board from 10 to 15-16 is a positive move, as well. "The major thing a board does is fundraising."

We know financial support of the zoo is critical, so establishing a stable leadership is tantamount to success. Blomberg is on the right track.

Blomberg said currently the zoo gets its funds from fundraising, operations, grants and partnership with the city. "The city provides about 25 percent of our budget."

Although the zoo is pulling itself out of financial straits now, Blomberg's vision is to be "financially independent." She said she believes the city would like that, too.

"I look at the zoo as being another quality of life (element), as well as an educational resource. As a taxpayer, I wouldn't want to lose the zoo."

Blomberg also intends to address the flood plain problem the zoo has at Riverside Park.

"Whatever happens has to be done right. I will live up to the expectations and do what I say I will do."

We think Blomberg will indeed make the Texas Zoo a valuable asset to Victoria, and we applaud her excitement in taking on the challenge.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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