An opening date of Nov. 20 has been set for the Spring River Zoo and pond to reopen to the public.
City Manager Joe Neeb made the announcement during his report at Thursday’s Roswell City Council meeting. The November date will allow renovation and upgrades at the zoo to be finished. The zoo closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re doing some cleanup, we’re doing a lot of work with that and we’re hoping to have all that new work done. That sets us up in order to go into the Christmas holiday season if we’re allowed to do it at that point in time,” he said.
Tuesday afternoon, that work continued at the pond, with dump trucks and grappler trucks lined up on different sides, ready to haul dirt and dead trees away. Crews from the city departments of Streets, Solid Waste and Parks and Recreation, along with a Chaves County excavator operator, have been working since March on digging silt and debris from the pond, regrading the banks and removing trees.
“See the dump trucks rolling? They’re making an assembly line for the dirt,” Special Services and Parks Director Jim Burress said Tuesday.
Support Local Journalism
Subscribe to the Roswell Daily Record today.
Support Local Journalism
The dirt carried away is reused as filler in other parts of the pond to create gently sloped banks and level areas where eventually tables, new grass and trees will offer places to fish or for picnics, Burress said. Tables will be able to be reserved for large groups.
On the south side of the pond, a grappler truck picked up large limbs and trunks of dead trees. The property owners of an adjacent residence allowed the city access to their yard to remove the trees and grade the surrounding ground.
“We’re going to get these dead trees out and use the grappler trucks so we’re not in these people’s property for long. Then we’ll put the grass back and leave,” Burress said.
A floating dock or bridge crossing the pond is planned, but will likely be built next year when the budget will more likely allow for it, he said.
At the zoo, internal enclosures for the new mountain lion and an enrichment building have been completed and the roof will soon be finished. Crews are also digging post holes for new fencing and infrastructure such as sewer and water lines.
Whether or not any special events will be planned for the reopening or for the holidays will depend on the state’s health orders at that time, Burress said.
City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or email@example.com.