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Bloomington council backs Miller Park Zoo addition

From the Miller Park Zoo.

BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) - Bloomington's Miller Park Zoo will soon welcome new occupants, paid for with a grant from the state government.

The city council Monday night unanimously agreed to amend its current budget to the tune of $507,400 for an exhibit featuring a breeding pair of De Brazza monkeys and and a duiker antelope.

City leaders said the state will reimburse the local government for the project's cost through an Illinois Department of Natural Resources Public Museum Capital Grant.

While supporting the deal, Council member Donna Boelen expressed some skepticism whether Springfield will come through with the money, given the state's $2.2 billion budget shortfall caused by COVID-19.

The city is entering into a contract with Diamond Design & Construction to build the exhibit, which will be located just north of the zoo's existing flamingo exhibit.

The addition will have separate rooms for the monkeys and antelope, and a common outdoor living space for the animals.

"Zoo patrons will be able to view the animals in the exhibit through a glass window from a shaded observation area, as well as have the opportunity to see the animals from multiple angles, at a distance, through the netting of the large enclosure," city staffers said in their report to the council.

The budget amendment had to be amended because the project was originally in the previous year's spending plan.

Howard Packowitz

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