MADISON, GA, April 08, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The Morgan County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the proposed Georgia Zoo & Safari Park on Tuesday. Construction is set to begin immediately on the 395-acre agritourism development.
"We were overwhelmed by the amount of support we received throughout this process," said CEO Bill Killmer. More than 200 letters of support came from community members, local businesses, educators and students. "We are looking forward to working with the community to create a true destination for the region."
Slated to open in Spring 2015, the zoo will be constructed in three phases. Phase I will include the walk-through zoo component, botanical gardens and aviary that opens into the safari park. The extended drive-through portion will offer interpretive, guided tours of the property on specially-designed safari vehicles.
"Our goal is to give people an authentic African game drive experience while educating them on our animals," said Mike Vaden, zoo director. Future plans call for an educational and event center, luxury tent facilities and tree-top lodges.
Once infrastructure, fencing and exhibit areas are in place, the Georgia Zoo & Safari Park will begin to acclimate its new residents - exotic birds, giraffes, leopards, gazelles, zebras, lemurs, water buck, giant anteaters, flamingos, and more.
The zoo plans to partner with local schools and universities to establish strong, hands-on educational and vocational initiatives, along with international and cultural exchange programs.
"Our community outreach will extend far beyond our fence line," said Robert Tucker, creative director.
The zoo plans to employ 40 full-time employees the first year, and 151 by year five. The projected economic impact of the zoo during its first year is $24 million, growing to $86 million by year five.
The Georgia Zoo & Safari Park is committed to connecting the community with the natural world. By creating an authentic outdoor experience, the Zoo aims to inspire respect for animals and habitats through education and conservation. For more information, visit http://www.TheGeorgiaZoo.com.
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