Many people in Tucson didn’t know that the Reid Park Zoo plans to expand its tiger habitat west of the zoo and destroy Reid Park’s lovely south pond (with ducks and turtles) and Barnum Hill with its waterfalls and streams.  This expansion is slated to occur in February 2021 and AZ Daily Star columnist Timothy Steller recently wrote about it on Dec. 13, pages B 1 and B5 entitled “Zoo expansion at Reid Park colonizes irreplaceable hill, pond” and online here:

This south pond and the adjoining hill have been open to the public for decades, enjoyed by countless families, many of whom love to feed bread to the ducks, geese, and birds.

All the trees will be cut down from scenic Barnum Hill in Reid Park, and the hill will be fenced off.

As Stellar writes, “Neither the south duck pond nor Barnum Hill should be colonized by the zoo, because they are unique, precious, and freely accessible.”

My husband and I, along with our son enjoyed that south pond and hill for decades and we would not like to see it taken by the Reid Park Zoo.  It is a family-friendly, public space for all to enjoy. Once the zoo takes it, then you have to pay to enter.  Current zoo prices are: Adults $10.50, Seniors $8,50, children 2 to 14 $6.50.  That cost would be $34.00, which is a lot to pay for a family of 4 with children under 14.

The South pond is also currently a peaceful oasis with water features, which is rare in this desert city. The next closest city pond is 7 miles away at Ft. Lowell Park at N. Craycroft and E. Glenn Rd.

Destruction plan exposed in letter

The public first learned of the plan to cut down the trees and pave over the pond in a letter to the editor that was published in the Star on Nov. 6. An expansion of the zoo was not in the language of the sales-tax hike voters approved in 2017 to expand the Zoo. I’m sure if the general public had known that the proposal including demolishing the south pond and cutting the trees on Barnum Hill, that proposition would not have passed.

The group called Save the Heart of Reid Park has accumulated more than 18,500 signatures of residents opposed to this particular expansion. A solution would be for the zoo to expand elsewhere in Reid Park, maybe even a parking lot, and leave the beloved south pond and hill alone.

Change.org Petition to Save the Pond: jttps://www.change.org/p/tucson-city-council-and-reid-park-zoo-save-the-reid-park-duck-pond

Go Fund Me Fundraiser: https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-the-heart-of-reid-park-barnum-hill-south-pond?fbclid=IwAR3P7KeGyLZI4v8VN5E1efYRIvqovXp2T6JRSElpuiQd32Q8b78Z1p9IiTU

Let’s work together & hope for a reasonable solution to this problem.  I am not opposed to any zoo expansion, just not at that popular location, which is a free open space for the residents and guests of Southern Arizona.

See below: nothing in the ballot proposition discusses expanding the zoo: