The St. Louis Zoo has drafted plans for a $500 million, 25-year redevelopment and expansion that remakes the zoo’s southern half, complete with galloping giraffes, free-flying flamingos, a 2,000-foot-long gondola line and — perhaps — giant pandas.
The zoo will raise private money to pay for the exhibits and expansion, leaders said, but raised hope that their newly proposed five-county sales tax could cover operations of the conservation breeding site, plus pay for much-needed annual and deferred maintenance.
The tax, if passed in St. Louis city plus Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties, could raise $30 million a year — increasing the zoo’s $60 million annual budget by 50 percent.
The sales tax measure is now being considered by Missouri lawmakers. It could go before voters next spring.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch