The Fresno city council voted in favor of the Chaffee Zoo expansion with a 5-0 vote. The zoo will now double in size beginning this summer.
Council member Oliver Baines said, "I'm satisfied with the work of our staff zoo staff has done."
Council member Larry Westerland said the expansion makes the park a better tourist attraction. He said, "It's an opportunity for Roeding Park and Chaffee Zoo to be true diamonds for the Central Valley and Fresno. It will draw and pull people from all over the state and perhaps all over the country to see what we have here."
The plan has been in the works for years. The green light will now allow the zoo to expand about 20 acres into Roeding Park. Zoo officials say they have about $41 million for the project thanks to Measure Z.
Chaffee Zoo director Scott Barton told KSEE 24, "We're so excited, the staff and me are thrilled to move forward and deliver to the community what they supported and what they voted for and do the things we promised, bring the lions and cheetah and rhinos."
The Roeding Family is against the expansion. They say it will take away space from low income families who can use the park for free.
One of the first exhibits to see construction this summer will be a sea lion cove.