NEW INFORMATION: More than 75 percent of funds raised for Irvine Park Zoo renovation

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Irvine Park zoo in Chippewa Falls is well on its way to getting the funding it needs for a renovation.

At a news conference this morning, the Irvine Park Capital Campaign committee announced $2.5 million
of the $3.25 million needed for the renovations has been silently donated, leaving a little more than 20% left to be raised.

Now the committee is opening the campaign to the public, asking the community to raise the rest of the nearly $750,000 needed.

Dick Hebert, Chippewa Falls director of parks, recreation, says the money will go toward a new welcome center, renovating and expanding the small animal building and aviary and artifacts building.

"It's not a question of will we raise the $3.25 million to reach our goal; it’s a question of when we'll raise the money,” said Hebert. “I'm confident in saying that for two reasons; there's a lot of support and enthusiasm for this project in our community, and the second is that we have 50 talented and motivated volunteers working on this project."

One of the co-chairs of the committee, Peg Leinenkugel, says they’re really counting on community donations.

“The tough part about it is that it's always the last %20 of a capital campaign that is the toughest to raise money for,” said Leinenkugel. “As you get close to the end it's hard for people to stay excited for it.”

Leinenkugel says the donations will be going towards a project that will serve the community for years to come.

“The wonderful thing is when this park is completed it is going to allow people to have a welcoming place to come when they come into the zoo area or the park,” said Leinenkugel. “It will also allow kids to see the animals during the winter, which has never been done before. It will have an educational area which is so important.”

There is no set date on when construction will begin on the 13,500-square-foot building, although demolition is expected to begin in fall of 2015.

A grand opening is slated for Memorial Day of 2016.

If you'd like to donate, you can call the Chippewa Falls Parks, Recreation & Forestry Dept.

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The Irvine Park Zoo is well on its way to getting the funding it needs for renovation.

At a news conference in Chippewa Falls Friday morning, the Capital Campaign Committee announced that it has raised 75 percent of the $3,250,000 it needs. The renovations will include building a new welcome center, a new small animal building, a new aviary, and an artifact display area.

A public fundraising campaign is underway to raise the rest of the money. Watch WEAU 13 News Friday evening for more on the campaign.




 
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