News Column

State grant bringing upgrades to Scovill Zoo

June 18, 2014

By Allison Petty, Herald & Review, Decatur, Ill.

June 18--DECATUR -- More additions are coming to Scovill Zoo thanks to a state grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office announced Saturday the zoo would receive $413,700 from the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program. The money will help pay for a walk-through aviary and crowned crane exhibit, open-air pavilion, an accessible walkway and a generator for the herpaquarium and penguin building.

The project's total cost is $463,700.

Assistant Zoo Director Ken Frye said Tuesday that zoo officials are planning a schedule for the work.

"I know we want to get started as soon as possible on the generator and even laying out the footwork for the aviary, to maybe have that done before Boo at the Zoo, maybe start it later this summer," Frye said. "We're talking about it, but we really don't have a plan in place for a starting time for any of it yet."

The grant is good news for crowned crane Woodstock, who left the public eye after his exhibit was displaced by the new Humboldt penguins. His new area is planned to be behind the gift shop, and zoo officials hope to acquire a companion for him.

The aviary would be located on the left side after visitors pass through the Scovill Zoo archway. A kookaburra exhibit had been located there, but it collapsed during a winter storm several years ago.

Frye said it will contain a small parakeet type of bird, or budgie, that people could feed.

The pavilion would be installed near the concession stand to provide a covered area for people to eat. The walkway, which will meet standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act, would connect the area behind the gift shop to the amphitheater behind the Shilling Environmental Education Center.

Frye said an area in the penguin exhibit building is already prepared for the generator, which is necessary to provide heat and power the filtration system if the zoo loses power.

Officials had planned to purchase the generator regardless of whether the zoo received the grant, he said, but the additional money is a huge help.

"If it gets below a certain temperature for certain animals, it's devastating," Frye said. "By having the ability to generate heat with the generator and keeping that furnace going, it actually saves our animals' lives."|(217) 421-6986


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Source: Herald & Review (Decatur, IL)

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