A cool shady spot in Reid Park became a hot topic when it looked like it would be lost to an expansion at the zoo. Now Tucson City seems about to approve a compromise to save the location.

It really ruffled some feathers when Tucson Voters approved a plan to expand the zoo but the plan included expanding it into where this duck pond is right now. Now it looks like the duck pond will be saved and the zoo will still expand.

The placid little pond with the ducks, and the turtles is a real contrast to our dry desert world.

Georgianna Hunter comes here when she needs a break from the city.

I would be sad to see it go. Because I’m new here, so new here. And this was my place that I got to know. And made my family feel comfortable moving to Tucson. So to hear that it was gonna leave. That would be, I wouldn’t like that.

When voters considered raising the sales tax to finance zoo expansions the ballot did not show specific descriptions of where the expansion would go. Parts of the plan not spelled out on the ballot called for portions of the new Asia exhibit to take the place of the smaller of the two duck ponds in the open part of the park.

People who love the little pond and Barnum Hill next to it, said they were not properly informed and convinced the city to stop and rework the plan.

Now six years after voters approved the tax for the zoo, a compromise avoids the pond and the tree shaded hill near it. The Asia exhibit will go where the main zoo parking lot is now, and workers will build a new lot.

Nancy Kluge is CEO of the Reid Park Zoo Foundation. She says, The new parking lot is to open in November of this year. Pathway to Asia construction will begin in November because it’s a two year construction period. So those should open at the end of 2025.

KGUN reporter Craig Smith asked: Now when the concerns about the pond broke out, how did that affect your timeline?

Kluge: It pushed it back a couple of years. But sometimes it takes time for the right solutions to emerge.

Georgianna Hunter says shes pleased to hear the new plan will preserve the pond, for the ducks, the turtles, and her peace of mind.

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