Duluth agrees to hand off zoo to non-profitby Bob Kelleher, Minnesota Public Radio
Duluth, Minn. — A non-profit group is taking over operations of Duluth's Lake Superior Zoo.
Duluth's zoo has been losing more than $600,000 a year. It's lost its accreditation, and has been unable to retain a zoo director. The facility is badly in need of repair and improvements.
Last night, Duluth's city council approved a deal that turns management over to the non-profit Lake Superior Zoological Society.
Council member Tony Stauber warned that if the deal was not approved, the zoo stood to close.
"If we shut them down tonight, I think we're going to shut that zoo down," Stauber said.
About a dozen workers will lose their zoo jobs, but will be given jobs elsewhere in the city, according to Duluth City Administrator Lisa Potswald.
"The reality is we're not in a position to give employees choices about where they can be and where they can work. Maybe that would have happened in a different environment, but certainly not in the environment we have now. However, we have guaranteed those employees that they have a job," Potswald said.
The Zoological society hopes to make ends meet through private fund-raising and a city subsidy.