The African Adventure exhibit walkways at Fresno Chaffee Zoo will benefit from a donation from David McDonald.

published on October 9, 2018 - 1:10 PM
Written by Gabriel Dillard

David McDonald, former Pelco CEO, has donated $232,000 to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo to help repave visitor walkways.

On a recent visit, McDonald noticed that walkways in the African Adventure and Sea Lion Cove exhibit were constructed with decomposed granite, which, according to a zoo news release, seemed to cause difficulties for visitors with strollers and wheelchairs, and with certain types of shoes.

After talking to zoo management, it was determined that the walkways would be improved with a stamped concrete pattern. As no funding was available for the project, McDonald stepped up with a cash donation.

The project will also include unpaved visitor walkways in the bird aviary and near the administration building. Construction is scheduled to begin soon with completion before winter.

“We are most grateful for this terrific donation,” said Fresno Chaffee Zoo CEO Scott Barton. “All zoo visitors will enjoy these new walkways. Mr. McDonald’s continuing support for Fresno Chaffee Zoo is greatly appreciated.”

McDonald was the chairman of the original Measure Z sales tax campaign in 2004, and a significant contributor to the second Measure Z campaign in 2014. The security camera manufacturing firm was sold to a French multinational corporation in 2007, and now McDonald is retired, though he also owns McDonald Aviation, a worldwide aircraft charter business.

“I am very pleased to see this happen,” McDonald said. “All zoo visitors will notice and appreciate this significant improvement.

McDonald has proven a generous donor when it comes to organizations supporting animals. In 2010 he gave $2 million to the City of Clovis for an expanded animal shelter. The Miss Winkles Pet Adoption Center was named for his “adorable, slightly mischievous” West Highland terrier.

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