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MBJ Editorial: Legislature sets flame to money with handout to zoo

Mississippi will be throwing good money after bad when it chucks $1.3 million at the Jackson Zoo.
The state Bond Commission last week unanimously approved the sale of $354 million in tax-exempt bonds for which the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will get $40 million together in bond funding.
However, other projects benefiting from state bond funding include $1 million for the Natural Science Museum, $1.3 million for the Jackson Zoo, $15 million for the State Crime Lab and $18.6 million for an Information Technology Services upgrade and millions more for Mississippi’s universities.
Spending that much money for anything in this day and age is questionable, but a reasonable case can be made for the funding of all of those projects except The Jackson Zoo.
Jackson is better off having a zoo. For that, there is no question. But the 79-acre site that was first developed for the zoo in in 1916 has outlived its usefulness.
There are those that would argue the zoo is historic. We would argue it is old, crumbling and in a crime-ridden part of town.
The fact is many people don’t visit the zoo because of that.
A zoo in Jackson would be better off in another location.
In fact, the best location for a zoo is in the location of the LeFleur Bluff’s golf course, along Interstate-55 and Lakeland Drive.
Taking away a 9-hole golf course is hardly a problem, considering there are nearly 50 golf courses in or near the Jackson area.
LeFleur’s Bluff offers nearly 150 acres of land which could be developed for a zoo, and the location along the interstate and next to the Mississippi Museum of Natural History and the Mississippi Children’s Museum, not to mention the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum would be perfect for tourists traveling through Jackson.
The current zoo is old, crumbling and in a dangerous location for the animals and those who dare visit them.
A $1.3 million handout won’t fix that.

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