MONROE, LA (6/28/20)– The Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo has been a staple in Monroe for over 90 years and some local residents are giving back.
Monroe residents were encouraged to quit “lion” around as the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo held a community workday that’s giving the zoo a facelift. Volunteers got their hands dirty as the worked in flower beds, power washed walkways, and even gave some buildings new paint jobs.
“Our biggest project that I am really most excited about is the demolition of our current gibbons’ structure. This gibbons’ structure is 50 years old, so it is way past time. We have some guys out there right now that are tearing it down and then we are going to build the infrastructure,” said Maggie Generoso, President Zoological Society.
The supplies for the new gibbons’ enclosure were donated from people in the community. However, the zoo is still in need of 2X6 deck boards and a 100-foot steel cable. While tearing down the current exhibit may be sad, neighboring animals aren’t the only ones excited to see new plans for the zoo.
“It’s really exciting to be able to help and know that I’m working towards something that will be here for the future,” said Jessica Marchand, volunteer.
The President of the Zoology Society says community workdays are important because keeping the zoo up to par and adding new attractions will bring in outside people.
“A community like Monroe that has a population of around 50 thousand people, we have to grow beyond Monroe. We have to bring people in from the surrounding areas,” said Generoso.
However, the Monroe zoo also relies on its hometown family.
“I really think people forget about it. So I really want to help put it back in the mind’s eye of the city and people who live in Ouachita Parish and the surrounding areas,” said Marchand.
The zoo is 80 acres with over 500 animals and nearly one thousand species of plants, but the future of the zoo is in the hands of those who want to see the zoo grow and improve.
“We can’t really grow in size because we are a big facility, but to improve what we already have and hopefully bring in some new animals,” said Generoso.
To see the Monroe Zoology Society Facebook, click here.