Denver Direct: From the Zoo re: City Loop – What?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

From the Zoo re: City Loop – What?

From: Ana Bowie <[email protected]>
Subject: Denver Zoo & CityLoop
Date: March 20, 2014 1:57:50 PM MDT

Thank you for your patience while we have worked to determine the zoo’s status with the CityLoop concept.  I want to begin by assuring you that we at Denver Zoo take our role as a park resident very seriously and are passionate about City Park. We have supported activities in the park that we believe improve the lives of our neighbors and guests and have defended our zoo and the park when we felt  activities were being proposed that could be detrimental to our animals, guests or neighbors.  
In the case of Re-imagine Play/CityLoop, Denver Zoo’s only involvement to date has been in July 2012 when we offered space for DPR to display the many Re-imagine Play design boards that were presented early in the competition before a final concept was chosen. We have no record of the zoo being on any applications or review groups for this process and none of us who were here at the time can recall any involvement beyond hosting the boards. There are no plans envisioned for any physical connection to CityLoop and we do not envision generating any income from the CityLoop project.
We are anxious to see the next concepts that will be presented. Denver Zoo does support replacing the Dustin Redd Playground however, we have not yet been approached to contribute to the concept and look forward to hearing what the new concept is. When those designs are shared, we will provide input and will certainly take a close look at anything that could negatively impact our animals.
I understand that the next stakeholder meeting will be held at the zoo on Saturday. Please do not take the location of the meeting to imply anything related to the zoo and this project. I had hoped to attend the March 12 meeting that was cancelled.  Denver Zoo will not be attending Saturday’s meeting in a formal capacity as we need to learn , as well, before we can provide input. I hope you have been provided information from DPR about parking and access. I expect that we will be very busy. I am anxious to hear the feedback from the stakeholders. It is my understanding  that revised designs/concepts will not be presented at this meeting. I assume there will be another meeting later to present concepts based upon all of the stakeholder feedback?
Bridget, I do need to take offense to the following statement from one of your letters. You wrote, “Unfortunately, my search for noise standards for captive zoo animals at zoo accrediting organizations has been disappointing. Of course these organizations are nothing more than clubs  for zoo administrators and boards so it is not surprising that they would avoid an obvious stressor if it meant that they weren’t going to have maximum flexibility in their fundraising endeavors. “ I hope that you wrote that in a moment of frustration because those of us who work in accredited zoos have dedicated our lives to caring for animals and your comment was insensitive and alienating. We regularly monitor decibel levels when there are activities inside the zoo or in the park and have contact information for organizers when we have concerns. Caring for animals and saving their wild brethren is why we come to work every day. We also believe to do this, we have to have human understanding.
We have reached out to DPR to learn more about this project.
As this process continues, Denver Zoo will monitor proposed plans and provide feedback when there is opportunity.  
Again, I appreciate you reaching out to Denver Zoo and I hope I have given you a clearer understanding of our involvement in CityLoop. Denver Zoo has not turned its back, we simply have not been included up to this point and are working to learn about the project. We have always had a positive relationship with DPR and I am confident that both Denver Zoo and Denver Museum of Nature & Science will be brought into discussions as new concepts develop.
I look forward to healthy continued dialogue.
Ana Bowie
Vice President for Strategic Initiatives & External Affairs
Denver Zoo
2300 Steele Street
Denver, CO 80205