In a bold, some may say brutal example of “highest and best use,” the City of Fort Worth has announced plans to sell the Fort Worth Zoo. Founded in 1909 with one lion, two bear cubs, an alligator, a coyote, a peacock, and a few rabbits the 110-year-old zoo is now home to some 7,000 animals. The 64-acre parcel will be subdivided into 172 lots for residential development.
“It was a difficult decision,” a city official was quoted as saying “But the land is just too valuable to keep as parkland. The offering is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars which will add substantial capital to employee pension funds.”
The reaction was strong and swift. The prominent and powerful Perch family, longtime major zoo supporters, expressed their dismay through spokesperson Jocelyne Carp.
“We were just flabbergasted. It’s a sad day for the city,” said Carp. “Apart from protesting in the strongest possible terms, there is, apparently, little we can do from a legal standpoint,” she added.