Eye on Miami (EOM) is seeking suggestions for how to best reuse Jungle Island. Go to the blog and add your own suggestions with the other readers. EOM states that the winner will be pulled from a hat at an upcoming joint meeting of the City and County Commissions.
This tongue in cheek blog post is generated out of the latest in the Jungle Island saga. Read the latest article in the Miami Herald: Cash-strapped Jungle Island falls short in bid for expansion on Miami’s Watson Island, by Kathleen McGrory.
It is reported that the Jungle Island and Miami city officials have not been able to reach a deal on a proposed expansion of the park. Jungle Island says it will reconsider its plans and do its best to make a $2 million payment on a federal loan due in August.
“Jungle Island has made the decision to put its expansion plans on hold and reconsider our options for the future at this time,” park officials wrote in a statement.
Commission Vice Chairman Marc Sarnoff said the aviary attraction is simply reading the tea leaves.
“They see there is no stomach for any further concessions,” he said.
In the statement, Jungle Island officials said they plan to “meet obligations,” the most pressing of which is the $2 million payment on a federal loan due in August.
The iconic zoological park and banquet hall has been bleeding money since its 1997 move from Pinecrest to Watson Island, and has failed to follow through on a number of promises to city officials. All told, Jungle Island owes more than $26 million to the city and county, which have made most of the payments on the federal loan. The city also loaned the business $800,000 to help it pay back taxes in 2009.
In addition, the park has not been able to pay rent on its city-owned property in more than three years.
It is time for you, the reader and taxpayer, to have your say. Have at it.