Report shows Baton Rouge Zoo needs to stay put

posted by WJBO Newsradio - 

Baton Rouge Zoo Sign WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - An economic impact study released Thursday gives ammunition to those fighting to keep the Baton Rouge Zoo in its current location. The Baton Rouge North Economic Development District, a group which advocates for economic revitalization in that area, released the report at its regular meeting.

"We feel that it is very clear that the impact of moving the zoo would be detrimental to North Baton Rouge," said BRNEDD executive director Ronald Smith.

The Baton Rouge parks agency (BREC) is considering moving the zoo to a more desirable location where it will attract more customers.

Smith said the report uses BREC data and was verified by two economists.

BREC spokesperson Cheryl Michelet called into question the legitimacy of Thursday's study. In an email, she wrote the report was dissimilar to other economic impact reports they're used to reviewing, ones that provide thorough explanations of the methods and findings.

"We do not consider ourselves economic experts so we have reached out to LSU’s Economic Research Policy Group to request a review of the BRNEDD study and give us their feedback as a well-respected, outside source," she wrote.

Smith said he welcomes the review. After the study was presented at the meeting Thursday, BRNEDD passed a resolution calling on BREC to keep the zoo where it is.

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