ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Mayor Richard Berry announced Thursday the city has hired two firms to create a master plan for the ABQ BioPark, something that hasn't been done since the 1970s.
The plan will cover all 110 acres of the BioPark which includes the zoo, botanic garden and aquarium.
Each year, more than one million people visit the BioPark
"This is the number one destination in New Mexico," Berry said.
However, the mayor said the 86-year-old destination needs a lot of attention and $18 million in maintenance.
"There's things that needed to get done that didn't," said Berry.
Part of the reason for that is there's been no master plan in place to guide what should be fixed, replaced or updated for four decades.
"It's time that we start looking forward to the future and sustainability of this great facility," Berry said.
To that end, the city has hired two firms to come up with a long-term vision for the facilities.
The firms, one based in Albuquerque and the other in Seattle, will focus on conservation and ways to generate more money all while increasing the visitor experience.
News 13 asked the ABQ BioPark's Director Rick Janser what he would like to see come out of this plan.
"Once you get in, ya know, some really cool exhibits down the road, whether it be penguins or a new gorilla habitat," Janser said.
In addition, he said he would also like to see a better connection between the three sites.
Right now, there is only a train that runs from the zoo through Tingley Beach to connect to the other two sites.
Some of the other options include shuttles and something similar to the sky tram at the San Diego Zoo.
"We've also thought of aerial trams that would take you from the zoo to Tingley and over the aquarium, botanic gardens, and that way, you can kind of take in the Bosque and see the beauty of the river also," said Janser.
While it is all a possibility, it will not all happen at once. The idea is to spread the projects out over the next 20 to 25 years as money allows.
BioPark visitors will also get a chance to weigh-in on the plan. Two public meetings are scheduled for early next year.
The cost for creating the plan is a little more than $300,000.
Last year, there was some controversy when the city raised prices at the zoo. There are no price hikes in the works to pay for the long-range plan.
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