Knox County proposes $500k loan to Zoo Knoxville


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs announced Thursday he will propose a $500,000 loan to Zoo Knoxville for operations while they miss out on thousands of dollars of revenue from visitors.

Mayor Jacobs made the announcement Thursday morning alongside Zoo Knoxville President and CEO Lisa New. The request will go before the Knox County Commission on Monday for approval.

The zoo operates as a non-profit and makes up to 75 percent operating dollars from guests, New said Thursday. The zoo loses an average of $22,500 every day they are closed.

“The closure coincided with the beginning of area spring breaks. A time of year when the zoo begins to generate operating income that supports us for the entire year,” New said.

PREVIOUS: Zoo Knoxville closed to the public on March 16.

Officials are asking for the public’s help to support the care of its animals after the facility’s temporary closure through its Animal Emergency Relief Fund

PREVIOUS: Zoo Knoxville needs donations for its Animal Emergency Relief Fund amid coronavirus pandemic

A reopening date for the zoo has not yet been determined.

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