Roosevelt Park Zoo continues Capital Campaign for cat enclosure

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MINOT, N.D. - The effort to enrich the Roosevelt Park Zoo continues as the zoo and the city parks are asking for the community's support.

The Roosevelt Park Zoo has been entertaining families with species from all over the world for nearly a hundred years.

Now they're asking you to help launch them into the next 100 years.

"The cat complex itself was built in the mid 70s and we've gotten a great life out of that but it is time for us to upgrade and bring it up to modern standards," said Ron Merritt, Minot park director.

Minot's "gem" received its first $1 million for the new habitat from the Community Facilities Fund. Two more half-million pledges later, the capital campaign has raised more than $2 million.

"The project itself is going to really allow us to care for our animals in a way that is a game changer. It's much more modern than what we've had in the past, and so we're asking people to help us on our journey," said Roosevelt Park Zoo Director Becky Dewitz.

"The zoo is owned by the citizens of Minot. So they own it, we operate it on their behalf, so we want everybody to participate in this in whatever way they can afford and to enjoy the results of it," said Merritt.

The project comes in at nearly $5 million, with plans for a lion viewing area to a tiger trail. Organizers say no donation is too big or too small.

"This gentlemen this past summer was walking through the zoo and he reached into his pocket and said all I have is seven dollars you guys deserve more, but this is all I have, and I still get chills even telling this story because even though it is seven's the thought that truly matters. It's people wanting to be invested in their communities," said Dewitz.

Giving the community a chance to bring quality enjoyment to the community and a safe, comfortable home to Roosevelt Park Zoo's Tiger, Lions, and Big Cats.

Construction on the cat habitats are set to start in 2018, with half of them done by Spring. The Zoo staff says they intend to have the entire habitat open for the centennial celebration in 2021.