Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
For its return on investment and strides in making Fresno a tourist destination, The Business Journal editorial board is announcing its support for an extension of Measure Z.
Since Fresno County voters first approved the one-tenth of one percent sales tax in 2004 — and again in 2014 — Measure Z has generated $135 million for capital improvement projects for the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, as well as $5 million to improve the utility infrastructure that supports all of the Zoo’s animal habitats. This includes updates to the Reptile House, Tropical Treasures, Birds of Prey and the King Cobra exhibit.
In terms of major additions that draw in visitors, Sea Lion Cove was the first to be supported by Measure Z in 2012. The $11 million project yielded a robust increase in attendance. When the $62 million African Adventure exhibit opened in 2015, it put Fresno on the map with a world-class zoo.
Looking to the future, the $42 million Kingdoms of Asia exhibit is expected to open later this year, representing a next generation of zoo exhibit that invites guests into the thick of the action. Fresno Chaffee Zoo even drew upon design input from local Southeast Asian communities to ensure it honors and provides the most authentic cultural experience.
Measure Z does not come with an increase in taxes if it is approved for a 15-year extension on the June 7 ballot. But what it does represent is a pride in ownership — that the Fresno Chaffee Zoo can stand with any other zoo in the country and truly is a jewel of the San Joaquin Valley.
Measure Z requires two-thirds approval from voters. Be sure to support the extension of Measure Z.