Elk Grove Can Become the 'Animal Mecca' of the Region and Bring the Zoo to Town

By D.J. Blutarsky | 

We've been reading that the Sacramento Zoo is looking for a new and larger home in order to become a first-class destination. If this recent news is not enough to rattle the 'cages' at City Hall, then nothing will. Let's hope that our crack team of economic development sleuths are already working on it, but if not, please put that CNU hospital aside for a moment and get started on it.

The Sacramento Zoo management decided a few months ago to pursue the 183-acre Sleep Train Arena site as a possible new home. However as is often the case in this region, residential rooftops and retail are already laying claim to this site. We don't know who the players will be, but the plan to build 2,000 homes and 1.1 million square feet of retail space will likely be an irresistible lure to the present Sacramento Kings ownership who still control the site.

This is where Elk Grove can, and should step up and throw their hat into the ring. In an ill-fated attempt to lure a major league soccer team, remember that 100-acre lot the City purchased outside the city-limits in 2014? How did that boondoggle work out? Well, five years later, things are beginning to look up!

The City currently has an application pending before the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) to include the soccer field and several surrounding parcels totaling a whopping 579 acres to become part of the sphere of city influence (planning jurisdiction). Recall that the zoo was eyeing 183 acres at the Sleep Train site. Elk Grove will soon have 579 acres to deal away! 

Depending on who you talk to, the City's track record of economic development achievements have been heavy on hype, heavier on incentives, and light on linking the new jobs with added sales tax benefit. But to lure a large metropolitan zoo to Elk Grove with all the expected incentive trimmings would be less a leap of faith than most past deals.

To see visitors staring in amazement at the penguins, lions, and prehistoric reptiles would excite me more than seeing a full parking lot at Costco and thinking, "yep Economic Development sure hit a home run on that one."  

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Unknown said...

I will forward Darrell Doan (or does it go to Barry Broome first?) the contact information for Disney. I know we're busy trying to take a shot at Amazon now that it's up for grabs again but I think we might have a more realistic shot at Disney North. I heard this guy named Barry Boom say that we are in the running. All we have to do is pay a nominal fee of $100k to be on his board and then he will make the magic happen. See? He even sounds like ol' Walt. I know people will complain that the fireworks will be noisy but if there is one thing our City can do it is mitigate. They could mitigate a nuclear waste pond built on an earthquake fault if there was something in it for them. Can't wait to get my new mouse ears!

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