GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A vote that would have ratified the John Ball Zoo’s master plan has been postponed after several people spoke during Tuesday morning’s public comment section.
The zoo and the adjacent park are owned by Kent County. As part of the zoo’s operating agreement with the county, its master plan must be updated every 10 years.
The latest proposal would pave a significant part of the green space on the west side of the zoo.
Neighbors and friends of the park told News 8 they didn’t realize how much green space they would lose and wanted their voices to be heard.
The zoo’s CEO spoke before the Kent County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning, citing the need for more parking as visitor numbers continue to grow.
“It would be well north of 700K. For the last two years, we were 600K,” Peter D’Arienzo, the CEO of John Ball Zoo, said. “If you look at the population of Kent County today … we’ll be at over 1 million people. … Literally every day of the week, we’re on the grass.”
Commissioners decided to postpone the vote until their Nov. 21 meeting. In the meantime, they asked the zoo to hold another community engagement meeting.