JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The City of Jackson could be a step closer to seeing the zoo reopened under new management.
According to Jackson’s mayor, headway is being made in the reopening of the zoo with contract talks resuming next week.
“The zoo is still on track for a summer opening,” said Mayor Chokwe Lumumba.
He told Jackson city leaders Tuesday that Zooceanarium officials will return March 11th to finalize the contract to begin operating the zoo.
In preparation for that meeting the mayor says the U.S.D.A. was asked to make an unofficial visit to address any issues that may delay opening.
He said the agency recommended clearing trees from the fence line. Bond issue funds will pay for that work and other repairs.
“We have the equipment ready to do that,” said Mayor Lumumba. “The problem has been that we’ve had so much rain in recent weeks that the ground is saturated and the equipment is not capable of fulfilling that task until the ground dries up.”
The council also approved paying $100,000 to continue feeding the animals at the zoo. The funds will come from building maintenance.
City leaders voted to continue paying zoo employees as vendors.
The city had to establish individual contracts to officially allow them to take care of the animals.
The council granted their regular salaries through September 30th.
The mayor expects Zooceanarium and City Legal to have the contract finalized next week, allowing the USDA to come in and complete their inspection.