CHICAGO – January 10, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced $15.6 million for much-needed repairs and updates to Brookfield Zoo’s aging buildings and exhibits. The capital funds will help make urgent repairs to many of its aged electrical, sanitary, structural, roofing and HVAC systems.
The funding is part of the Illinois Jobs Now!, a job generation and capital improvement program that will revive the state’s ailing economy by creating and retaining over 439,000 jobs over six years.
“Investing in Brookfield Zoo will create jobs and help ensure that one of our top tourist attractions keeps people coming to Illinois,” said Governor Quinn. “With Illinois Jobs Now!, we can fund important projects that will help revitalize our economy while laying a foundation for future growth.”
Brookfield Zoo, also known as Chicago Zoological Park, opened in 1934, and much of its infrastructure dates back to the same era. The repairs and upgrades will create more than 370 construction jobs. They will also help the zoo prevent layoffs, exhibit closures and the elimination of award-winning conservation education programs, according to the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo.
“Thanks to Governor Quinn, we can begin to make worthy, well-planned and much-needed repairs to Brookfield Zoo’s aging infrastructure,” said Dr. Stuart Strahl, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Zoological Society. “With this important capital funding we can create jobs for Chicago-area skilled laborers while averting significant layoffs at Brookfield Zoo.”
In 2009 Brookfield Zoo pumped more than $150 million into the Illinois economy while supporting 2,000 jobs. It was the state’s most popular outdoor cultural attraction with more than 2.2 million guests and 102,500 member households, including more than one million children under the age of 11. Additionally, the zoo’s education programs reached 2,000 teachers and 22,000 students in area schools.
Brookfield Zoo spans 216 acres west of Chicago and is open every day of the year. The zoo is known throughout the world for its animal care and conservation efforts. Since its opening 75 years ago, Brookfield Zoo has welcomed more than 110 million people.