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Indian Boundary Park Zoo a Zoo No More

By Benjamin Woodard | August 30, 2013 7:14am
 Indian Boundary Park Zoo is no longer a zoo. All the remaining animals have been removed.
Indian Boundary Park Zoo
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WEST ROGERS PARK — Two ducks, six chickens and a goat, the last vestiges of Chicago's smallest zoo, have been removed from Indian Boundary Park.

The zoo is no more.

The animals were moved this month to the Lincoln Park Zoo, which had a $90,000 annual contract to provide and care for the animals at 2500 W. Lunt Ave., zoo spokeswoman Sharon Dewar said.

"Honestly, we’ve let go of the zoo a while ago," said Jennifer Albom, president of the Indian Boundary Park advisory council.

She and her neighbors had worked to come up with ideas about how to save the zoo after news surfaced earlier this summer that the Chicago Park District wanted to knock down the animal enclosures and replace them with a nature center to attract area wildlife.

Now, with the animals gone, they hope the park district will listen to their ideas.

"How they've responded, and the way they've responded before, is to [ignore us and hope] that we would go away," said Dan Miller, who lives near the zoo. "But we’re not going away. We’re getting stronger."

The group plans to petition the park district's board at its Sept. 11 meeting.

"There’s some really easy low-hanging fruit in our proposal that the park district could grab," Miller said.

The leading idea of the group has been dubbed "Living Backyards." Neighbors said they would transform the existing animal enclosures into gardens that could be used to teach others about urban gardening.

There would also be room for aquaponics, bee hives and possibly chickens, organizers say.

District officials had said they would wait to knock down the enclosures, but would continue with their plan for the "Indian Boundary Park Nature Oasis," which includes stone pathways, a pine grove, a butterfly sanctuary, community gardens, a new water spray feature and a renovated zoo building for classrooms.

"I'm hoping that park district is open to new possibilities that we’ve been researching," Albom said.

A letter from a district official to Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th), dated Friday, confirmed that the Lincoln Park Zoo would "no longer operate in the park."

"The Park District has received many creative ideas from the community and is excited to reinvent this section of the park," wrote Robert Rejman, director of planning and construction for the district.

Rejman said in the letter that design work for a renovation of the existing zoo building and surrounding area would "begin immediately" and construction would conclude next summer.