By Adam Hocking
The bid for the construction of the new grizzly bear pen at Wildwood Zoo was awarded Tuesday night during the Board of Public Works meeting, and the move was also given final approval by the common council. Altmann Construction Company Inc. of Wisconsin Rapids was awarded the bid.
The bids for the project came in slightly higher than anticipated, and there is a now a gap of just over $83,000 between the cost of the project and the money that has been raised for it. Funds thus far raised for the project have been predominantly via private donations and also include $90,000 from the city in the form of room tax funds. In total the project has raised about $1,225,998, but the estimated cost of completing the project is $1,309,528.
Barg said the first option to fill the gap is via continued private donations. A secondary plan to bridge the approximately $83,000 shortfall would be for the city to use $5,000 from the now dissolved Sustainable Marshfield Committee, $30,000 from the Zoo Society, and another $48,000 by delaying the construction of a storage building that was planned for this year on the zoo property.
Acting Parks and Recreation Manager Ben Steinbach said that groundbreaking on the bear exhibit project would likely be in the next couple of weeks and he anticipates project completion some time in October. He added that he thought bears would be in the exhibit by the end of October, though he said these were general time frames and not hard and fast dates.