SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Sacramento City Council unanimously approved the funding for the feasibility study to relocate the Sacramento Zoo Tuesday.

This is the first step to possibly move the zoo from the Land Park location. The study is estimated to cost $150,000 and take about six months to complete. It will analyze investments and business operations.

CBS13 first reported in November that the Zoo and City had a short-list of possible locations, with the old Sleep Train Arena site in Natomas considered the most ideal. However, the Kings own the land and have expressed interest in turning it into a mixed-use development.

Tuesday morning, John Rinehart, the Kings President of Business Operations, told CBS:

“In November, we filed a general entitlement plan with the city to provide for the maximum flexibility in the redevelopment of the Natomas site. This flexible plan provides for a broad range of opportunities, including destination amenities, which could include a zoo. Any ultimate end user would need to be compatible with all other neighboring uses, and have the necessary funds to purchase and develop the site. Working collaboratively with all parties, we are excited to push forward to make the property redevelopment a reality for the Natomas community and City as a whole.”

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The City Council agenda report now shows the other alternative sites being identified as possible locations, with the Tier 1 sites considered the best options, Tier 2 considered potentially viable, and Tier 3 not recommended:

  • Former Sleep Train Arena (Tier 1)
  • North Natomas Regional Park (Tier 1)
  • Bing Maloney Golf Course (Tier 1)
  • Natomas Joint Vision (Tier 2)
  • Del Paso Regional Park (Renfree Field) (Tier 2)
  • Executive Airport (Tier 2)
  • Haggin Oaks Golf Course (Tier 3)
  • Cal Expo (Tier 3)
  • Granite Regional Park (Tier 3)
  • Job Corps (Tier 3)
  • Delta Shores Regional Park (Tier 3)
  • Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course (Tier 3)

The city council said Bing Maloney Golf Course, the Former Sleep Train Arena, and North Natomas Regional Park are currently the best sites.

The Zoo used to house several large animals, but the Association of Zoos and Aquariums standards have shifted and Sacramento can no longer exhibit those larger animals. In order to maintain the accreditation it’s held since 1975, Sacramento needs to address and comply with exhibit requirements and management guidelines. If the Zoo stays in Land Park, management says it will need to “change its core focus and the species it exhibits.”

The Sacramento Zoo opened in 1927 on 4 acres in Land Park. It expanded to its current 14.8 acres in 1968.