City of Jackson begins negotiations with Dubai company approved to operate zoo

Contract talks begin between Jackson and city-approved company to operate zoo

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The City of Jackson is finally in negotiations with the company approved by the council to operate the Jackson Zoo.

While talks are officially ongoing, there is no word on terms of the deal.

“If they’re gonna make some major changes to better the zoo, I would be for that,” said Barry Jackson.

The Jackson native now lives in Madison, but he said he visited the zoo all of his life.

He wants a management group who will rehabilitate the park with a special emphasis on the animal enclosures.

“I’d like to see them remodel some of the areas where the animals are kept where there’d be a better environment for the animals mainly,” said Jackson.

Other city residents shared his thoughts and their hopes for the future of the zoo as the city negotiates with ZoOceanarium to operate the animal exhibit.

Jackson Communications Director Candice Cole said the City Attorney and officials with the Dubai based company were in a meeting that was closed to the public to come to terms with a contract.

As talks move forward, residents want added attractions and more to entertain children.

“More activities and more things for children to do,” said Dessiree Carter of Jackson. “Because, like I say, Jackson doesn’t have enough activity for children as it is. So I’m hoping if they do have a new management it will be for the better."

"I'd like to see them have a reputable firm that's in charge of doing that and the right people who are going to run it and have the right product out so we can make our city be proud of it," said Jackson resident Bitt Hammons.

The city offered no information on the ZoOceanarium deal.

We requested information on details, terms, cost and length of the contract and are awaiting a response.

Cole also said that Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba was out of town and unavailable for comment.

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