At crossroads, Zoo New York needs community support

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In 1992, the Thompson Park Zoo and Conservancy stepped up to save the zoo from closing.

Now 21 years later, the conservancy is asking for the community’s support to determine whether Zoo New York should continue to stay open.

On Wednesday, zoo officials brought about 20 community and business leaders together to drum up support for the facility at a critical time in its history.

They met in one of the zoo program classrooms at Jefferson Community College to talk about Zoo New York’s future and what needs to be done to keep the facility in Thompson Park open.

“To lose the zoo, it would be disastrous for the community,” said Alfred L. Gianfagna, a retired Watertown pediatrician who led efforts to keep the zoo open in 1992. “We need to do everything we can to save it.”

The zoo is at a crossroads. With continuing financial problems, the way that the zoo operates must change or it’s time to turn the facility back to the city, conservancy board chair Mark Irwin said.

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