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Zoo Property Purchase

Two golfers walk off a green at the Emerald Greens Golf Course in St. Louis on Friday, March 9, 2018. The St. Louis Zoo agreed to purchase 425 acres of land in North St. Louis County from the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562. The land is planned to help conserve animals. Photo by Austin Steele,

The St. Louis Zoo bought on Friday 425 acres of land in north St. Louis County for a conservation and animal science center with $7.1 million in private donations. Officials say there are no plans to ask city voters for money to help develop it.

“Elected officials and leaders in St. Louis city provided overwhelmingly positive feedback regarding the zoo,” zoo president and CEO Jeffrey Bonner said in a statement. “Unfortunately, there was enough concern about exploring a sales tax in St. Louis city given other issues St. Louis city is currently addressing,”

In May, St. Louis County officials agreed to put a proposal of a one-eighth of one percent sales tax on the Nov. 6 ballot, known as Proposition Z.

The land was owned by the Plumbers’ and Pipefitters’ Welfare Educational fund and is now owned by the St. Louis Zoo Association. The zoo plans to build a conservation and animal science center on the site, with attractions such as a safari experience.

If county voters approve the proposition, the main attraction at the Spanish Lake-area campus would only be free for them. Others would be charged admission. Zoo admission in Forest Park would continue to be free for everyone.