Parks at Chehaw leaders await Fowlers master plan - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Parks at Chehaw leaders await Fowlers master plan

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May 22, 2004

Albany -- Parks at Chehaw leaders hope Jim Fowler's fame will help improve the zoo, but hope the wild-life expert won't leave them out of his plans for zoo's future. 

Saturday, the Park authority met for the first time since Fowler asked Albany city commissioners to let him take over the Chehaw zoo.

This alligator, looking around for attention, inside Chehaw wildlife exhibit may soon find himself center stage if the Albany's City commission agrees to let Jim Fowler turn the zoo into an African safari experience. 

"He insinuated that the park was not as good as it should be," says Phil Franklin Park Authority Chairman.

Franklin says he disagrees with Jim Fowler's claims that the Parks at Chehaw don't have anything to keep tourists coming back and is getting a bad reputation. 

Franklin says he meet with Fowler in October about his idea to create an Africa Safari on 200 acres of unused land. But since then he has not heard back from Fowler until he came to City Commissioners to tell them he wanted to take over the entire wild life section of the park. 

"We have had a $180,000 turn around in one year which is significant so the park is not broke. But we want to do is see if Mr. Fowler can enhance what we started," says Franklin.

In time, Fowler believes he can make the park self sufficient so it will no longer need any money from the city. A saving authority members want as well. 

"If he has a proposal that can enhance what we've got going here and can save the city     1 million dollars than we are anxious to look at it," says Franklin.

Authority members say they'll stay open minded, as they wait to see Fowler's master plans for the zoo. 

Fowler's complete proposal for the zoo could be ready in as little as two weeks.

posted at 6:34PM by scott.hunter@walb.com