SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - You'll find zoos in Alexandria, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. So why not Southwest Louisiana?
"We think that it is a good project. We think it is a good idea," said Jerry Jones, Imperial Calcasieu Regional Planning & Development Commission.
Jones said they've reached out to Calcasieu Parish officials and officials with the City of Lake Charles and City of Sulphur. While everyone agrees the experience would enhance the quality of life in Southwest Louisiana, it also comes with an unknown price tag?
"I have talked with people, who have a zoo in North Louisiana, and they are always trying to find funding. One of my main questions was who is going to pay for this," said Dru Ellender, Sulphur City Council.
Though the group is still a long way from a feasibility study, the cost would all depend on the size of the zoo.
"We will be taking a road trip to the Audubon Zoo real soon to look at their facility, as well as out-of-town trips to a small zoo and a medium size zoo just to get the feeling of what we need here in Southwest Louisiana," said Sulphur Mayor Chris Duncan.
As the idea moves forward, Jones said the focus is on public interest.
"So we are just trying to do the fact finding at this point. Just trying to get an idea how the public feels about it. Trying to come up with an estimate as to how much it would possibly cost and then go from there to see if the residents and citizens of this region are interested in trying to develop something like that," Jones said.
They plan to get feedback by questioning residents in Southwest Louisiana and parts of East Texas. They expect that process should take about 30-45 days.