Watertown Officials Decide To Replace Aviary With Pavilion


The fate of the aviary at the Thompson Park zoo in Watertown has been decided. City leaders already agreed to demolish the old structure and now they've agreed to build a pavilion in its place.

"It would actually give us a more modern, cleaner-looking venue for us to do educational presentations, in an actually more natural open air environment," said John Wright, director of the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park.

Originally, lawmakers had hoped to renovate the existing aviary, but the million-dollar price tag put that project out of reach.

They went back to the drawing board and came up with an open-air pavilion instead.

They had a chance to look at some potential plans...both on paper and staked out on the ground on-site during a meeting at the zoo Monday night. 

"I think it will be a nice addition looks-wise," Mayor Jeff Graham said, "and we'll be able to do it within the costs prescribed."

The 2,100-square-foot, cross-shaped pavilion city engineers staked out would cost around $170,000. The final price will depend on the final design.

"We came up here to just sort of get a visual of the concept," council member Roxanne Burns said.

"Obviously, there's details to be worked out and the devils always in the details," she said.

It's now up to zoo and city officials to hammer out those details. Preferably soon, the mayor said.

"The last endeavor just dragged on way too long and I want to move it along and going to try to hold everybody's feet to the fire and get this agreement on the final design and out to bid as quickly as possible," Graham said.

Also discussed at the city council meeting were future plans to revamp the children's zoo.

But first comes replacing the aviary.

And agreeing on what to put there was a necessary, long-awaited first step.

Above and below are examples of what the pavilion could look like.

See our earlier story.









Wednesday, October 26, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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