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Sun., Oct. 4
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Timeline for aviary demolition, replacement at New York State Zoo at Thompson Park outlined


Officials from the city and the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park are preparing for the future after the zoo’s aviary is taken down.

Plans are for the aviary to be demolished next year, as soon as weather allows crews to proceed, then use the site to erect an open air pavilion, which can be used to hold events such as classes and private parties.

City Engineer Kurt W. Hauk said the pavilion would have the shape of a cross, with the center of the space wired with power and lighting. A concrete floor would be designed to look like stone.

John T. Wright, the zoo’s executive director, said the space would double the amount of seating for its educational programs. The zoo during peak field trip times in April, May and June can do as many as three presentations a day for school groups.

“We can maybe even have two classes at a time,” Mr. Wright said.

Mr. Hauk said the estimate for creating the pavilion is $170,000, with an additional $25,000 to demolish the aviary building. The estimate was based on a similar pavilion placed in the J.B. Wise parking lot, between Black River Parkway and Public Square.

Engineers are preparing an alternative estimate for the pavilion with a cedar-shake roof instead of a metal one.

Mr. Hauk said the planning work would take place over the next few weeks, after which the proposals will be presented to the City Council and the zoo’s board of directors. If all goes as planned, Mr. Hauk said, the city would look to start receiving bids for the combined demolition and construction work at the aviary space by February.

“If you combine it all into one project, you save on some of those costs,” he said.

Mr. Wright said he and his staff are ready for when the City Council determines its former aviary should come down.

All of the animals from the aviary have been moved to other holding areas in the zoo, except for three wild turkeys.

“It’ll take us all of about 30 minutes to catch them and remove them,” Mr. Wright said.

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