Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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Zoo Management Agreement


City Council Approves Non-Profit Management of Zoo

On Dec. 17. 2001, the City Council voted 8-1 to approve a 20-year agreement to unify management of the Woodland Park Zoo under the non-profit Woodland Park Zoological Society. The Zoo will remain under City ownership and the Zoo Society will manage it under contract. The City will continue to provide annual public funding.

The management and operations agreement fulfilled the 1995 recommendation of the Zoo Commission II (a panel of citizens, Zoo staff, labor representatives and civic leaders) and will help make Zoo management and operations more efficient, focused and financially stable.

For more information, please see:

The WPZS has contributed more than $50 million to the Zoo over the past decade to support new exhibits and educational programs. The WPZS would complete the Zoo Long Range Plan in the first quarter of 2002, oversee capital improvements, set admission charges, and manage the Zoo's operations, which include animal management, education, facilities and grounds maintenance, visitor services, horticulture, fundraising, and marketing.

The agreement also lays out a series of performance standards and financial audits to ensure sound fiscal management and public accountability, and contains many "safety valves" to ensure both parties meet all contract requirements.

In 1995, the 50-member Zoo Commission II appointed by Mayor Norm Rice concluded that the dual-management system is cumbersome and duplicative, and recommended a unified form of management by the WPZS under a contract with the City. Mayor Paul Schell accepted the recommendations and directed City staff to work with the WPZS to develop the agreement.

For more information, please write or call (206) 684-8020.

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Updated January 23, 2014

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