AKRON, Ohio — The Akron Zoo announced that its campaign strategists informed them Tuesday night that Issue 47 will pass, providing funding to be used to fund operational expenses, maintenance and expand educational programming for the growing zoo.
The zoo made the announcement with 90% of precincts reporting at 59% passage.
“All I want to say is thank you. Thank you for your trust in us,” said Akron Zoo President and CEO Doug Piekarz. ”This is a fantastic opportunity for all people of Summit County, for the economic driver that the Akron Zoo is.”
Approved by voters in March 2000, the levy up for renewal generated revenue that allowed the zoo to expand its physical footprint, assortment of animals and species, along with a wider array of educational programs. In the years since the passage of the original levy, the zoo has been able to expand to more than 40 acres. As the park has grown in size so too have the attendance totals, Piekarz said previously.
“We look forward to continuing to grow our mission impact, our education impact and our economic impact in partnership with all of you,” Piekarz said.
The 0.8 mill levy that will receive a renewal is extended for 10 years instead of the typical seven-year cycle. Piekarz said the reason behind that decision was to save the zoo money, time and effort on future levy renewals. The Akron Zoo, which is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
The additional $5 million in annual revenue from the new tax levy, in addition to funding maintenance and operations, will also be used to help fund further expansion of the Pride of Africa section of the park.