Oakland Zoo Expansion Means Jobs

Expansion of the Oakland Zoo will mean new habitat for animals -- and a boat load of jobs and revenue for people.

By Chris Roberts
|  Wednesday, Jul 6, 2011  |  Updated 2:49 PM PDT
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Oakland Zoo Expansion Means Jobs

Oakland Zoo

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What's good for the goose -- and the lions, and the grizzly bears, and the "aerial gondola" -- is good for the gander. As in the municipal budget.

The Oakland Zoo's expansion projects, which will see the East Bay animal house expand by 54 acres, will pump roughly $111 million into the Oakland city and Alameda County economies, according to the Oakland Tribune.

It took 13 years of planning and negotiating to get approval for the projects: a veterinary hospital, an exhibit that will feature native California plants and animals, an aerial gondola, an overnight camping area and more. Digging is expected to begin any time now, with the exhibits open to the public by 2015.

"Everyone understands our cultural value, but they don't understand our economic impact," Oakland Zoo expansion project director Nik Dehejia told the newspaper.

The work means 200 jobs in the construction phase, with another 30 to 60 permanent jobs at the zoo once the expansion is complete.

Yet that might not be enough to satisfy opponents of the zoo, which, in a twist, include environmentalists and animal activists, who argue that the zoo's expansion reduces open space and habitat for local native species. Opponents have until July 22 to file a lawsuit, the newspaper reported.

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