SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Supporters of the new Sacramento Zoo met with Sacramento Kings representatives to talk about moving the attraction to the old arena site in Natomas.
The zoo says it risks losing accreditation if they do not find a larger site, but the Kings say they are not ready to make a commitment.
In a standing-room-only meeting, Sacramento Kings Senior Vice President Jeffery Dorso came face-to-face with people who say redevelopment of the old Natomas arena site is taking too long.
“It’s just a big eyesore that’s sitting over there, that hasn’t done anything,” Natomas resident Mike Turner said.
“I think things have moved a little slower than we all had hoped. I think we hoped there would be a plan in place that we’d be moving towards right now,” Sacramento City Councilmember Angelique Ashby said.
Swipe through renderings of the proposed new zoo on the arena lot.
Many would like to see the site be home to a new Sacramento Zoo, which is looking for a larger facility.
“We have the space, we have the infrastructure already in place,” Brandy Tuzon-Boyd, We Want A Zoo Founder, said.
Last month, the Kings released a 70-page development plan for the 180-acre site, which includes new housing, parks, and commercial space. But nowhere in the document does it mention a zoo.
Swipe through renderings from the Kings’ development plan
“The one thing we don’t really need more of is empty commercial building space and high-density housing which is really kind of what the kings seem to be proposing,” Turner said.
The Kings say they haven’t ruled out a zoo or any other attraction, but one big question remains about the financing.
“We want to have the opportunity to really look at whatever makes sense, be it a zoo or be it something else,” Dorso said.
Natomas neighbors say the Kings promised to build something that would benefit the community when the arena moved downtown. It’s a commitment they want to come true.
“It’s now time for the city of Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings to keep their promise to Natomas to put something in place of the old arena that is a community amenity,” Tuzon-Boyd said.
The next step is to finalize the environmental review before the project will be presented to the city council for approval. The city council is also considering using taxes from new hotels being built in Natomas to fund a destination attraction, like a zoo.