I am a native of Western New York, now retired, who has enjoyed the Buffalo Zoo for many years. My wife and I are supporting members of the Zoological Society and recently went to the well-attended picnic with our granddaughters. I believe the reasons to keep the zoo where it is are overwhelming:
Its location is easily accessible to all of Western New York due to its nearness to the Scajaquada Expressway, which ties in with the Thruway and other major roads.
Millions of dollars have been spent building and modernizing many exhibits, entrances, walkways and educational facilities. It doesn't make sense to abandon all this.
There is lots of room to expand. To the south is the parking lot, a few basketball hoops, a seldom used bowling-on-the-green area and an underused playground. To the east is the Delaware Park Golf Course. This is a flat, boring course with few bushes or trees and no sand or water hazards. In my opinion, it is the poorest public course in the county. Many acres of this land could be given to the zoo.
Most North Buffalo residents like the zoo and want to keep it there, while many South Buffalo residents are opposed to its being moved there.
The zoo has trouble now getting enough support from the city, county and members to feed the animals and maintain the facilities. Would their support double for a much larger operation? I doubt it.
We've been to other zoos, from San Diego to Toronto, and all have larger populations and tax-bases. Toronto's huge, well-done exhibits are spread all over the boondocks, making it hard to see much of the zoo.
Lastly, I read that a new zoo is expected to cost $160 million, including some state and federal money. But these are not gifts, they're our tax dollars. I'm sick and tired of our tax-and-spend politicians trying to put this area in another deep hole.
I am in favor of spending more millions to expand the zoo, but I believe this push for an expensive new zoo is "empire building" on the part of the zoo director, staff and Zoological Society. Let's have a good, somewhat larger zoo at this site.
Edward G. Hoffman Buffalo