Plan for Chehaw may bring national attention - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Plan for Chehaw may bring national attention

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July 21, 2004

Albany- By improving the way we get to see the animals at Chehaw, Jim Fowler and a team of wildlife experts from around the nation, say they can turn the park into a national attraction and wean it off city money.

Fowler and his team want to lease the Wildlife Park and run it as a non-profit organization with money from foundations and private sources.

"There are corporations who instead of funding a city project, when they see the enthusiasm and dedication of what we're doing, we know from experience that we can raise the money to do some of the projects at Chehaw," Fowler said.

One of the main changes the team wants to make is to add an expedition like ride, allowing visitors to see animals in their natural environments. But Chehaw Authority members and employees want more information, and want to know that people will keep their jobs.

"There are some people out there, volunteers and staff, who have put their heart and soul into Chehaw for many years, through the flood and all sorts of hardships," said Director Doug Porter.

Fowler helped design the park in the 70's, but some of his plans were never put in place. Plans, he says, would have made the park more successful and plans that can still make a difference.

"I have a passion for creating places that families and kids can come to and get reacquainted and reconnected with the natural world and I'm from Albany," he said.

Now it will be up to the city commission and park authority to determine if Fowler will get to help his hometown park.

posted at 10 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com