By Wyatt Goolsby
PECOS - Federal investigators want big changes at the Maxey Park Zoo in Pecos. Now city officials have to shell out thousands for the facelift. However, people in town may have to pitch-in, if they want to see the zoo remain open in the future.
"It's a tourist attraction," Mayor Richard Alligood explained. "We want it to be nice, attractive, we want it to be safe, and we want the animals to be taken care of."
It's been a part of Pecos for decades and even now, the local zoo is free of charge for all visitors. But multiple changes will soon be visible after federal investigators said it needs immediate upgrades.
"One of which is putting in a eight foot tall fence separating the animals from anybody that could be walking around or driving by," Alligood said.
The City Council has approved 60,000 dollars for the new fence. That's on top of hiring a veterinarian out of Carlsbad, N.M. to treat the animals. Mayor Alligood said many of the rules are good ideas for zoo.
"No more than we want to see an animal hurt, if somebody were able to drive up here and throw something over that would be of a poision to an animal," Alligood said. "This might allievate that problem and if so, we are protecting these animals."
The problem is the money. Whether its taxes, grants, or charging entry fees, officials realize it will take a lot more to keep up with even more regulations.
"It's up to the citizens of Pecos to let us know what they really want to have and really want to get done with this facility," Alligood explained. "We are willing to work with them, but we've got to find a way to fund it."
City Council members are working on blueprints to reshape the zoo based on the new rules.
From here, officials said they will give residents the chance to voice their opinion in the future as to whether they think it's worth the money to keep the zoo open.