Potawatomi Zoo, Indiana, has broken ground on a $37 million project to improve visitor experience. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, state officials and Potawatomi Zoological Society executives were present to break ground.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) approved Regional Cities Initiative funding for Potawatomi Zoo.
IEDC President, Elaine Bedel, said: “As a state, Indiana is committed to attracting and retaining talent by helping create a better quality of place in communities throughout the state. The Potawatomi Zoo has been a major attraction in north central Indiana for more than 100 years, and these planned renovations will enhance the guest experience for families and attract new visitors to the region.”
This is phase one of Potawatomi Zoo’s master plan aims to improve visitor experience, guest circulation and flow and increase revenue opportunities. The plan will also bolster the zoo’s position as a community asset.
The front entry will be transformed into a 3,690-square-foot plaza with a concierge-like guest experience. Construction is set to be complete by spring 2020. The entry process for guests will be enhanced with new amenities such as an ADA-accessible pathway, additional restrooms, vending areas and stroller and wheelchair rental space.
A new gift shop will be built at the front entry complex, increasing the zoo’s retail revenue by directing traffic by the store.
“Catalyst for growth”
South Bend Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, said: “Our city prides itself on its top-notch facilities,” said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “This improvement further enhances one of our most beautiful, most family-friendly spaces. By completing this project with the Regional Cities Initiative, we are further strengthening our ties with the wider area and attracting even more interest and investment to South Bend.”
Marcy Dean, executive director of the Potawatomi Zoo, said: “We are thrilled to receive Regional Cities Initiative funding to support our new front entry project. The front entry project provides a catalyst for growth as the first and most important phase of our Master Plan, providing a phenomenal entrance experience into the zoo for our guests and members while adding to the quality of life in our region and increasing our economic impact, educational reach and ability to continue growing as valuable community asset.”