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Toledo Zoo looks toward the future with potential expansion plans

The zoo bought a former railroad property on the Anthony Wayne Trail to create overflow parking and a new entrance.

TOLEDO, Ohio — With everybody zooing it, the Toledo Zoo is planning for the future and a potential expansion.

Toledo Zoo executive director Jeff Sailer explains the zoo purchased a former railroad property off the Anthony Wayne Trail. The plan, now, is to pave it and create a parking lot.

"Initially, we'll be able to use the lot as overflow parking and shuttle people to and from the zoo," said Sailer.

Sailer says the property has been sitting for decades without any real plan for development and is listed as a "brownfield." That means the property is considered "contaminated" because of its previous use.

The zoo will work with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agencies to mitigate that brownfield status and create its parking lot. Sailer says that parking lot is the first step toward expanding.

"We're really looking at the long term future of the zoo," Sailer said. "In the long term, we'll be potentially looking at a new entrance for the zoo and eventually moving our primary parking from the lot on the Anthony Wayne Trail to this new lot."

Sailer explains then the zoo could start developing its current main parking lot to create new amenities for guests.

"This was a great opportunity to double the size of the zoo and to think, not of today, not of tomorrow, but 10, 15, 20 years from now."

Something Sailer says it important to the zoo and the surrounding community.

"The zoo sees itself as an important part of the south end and we really want to do our part to make this area of town strong and continue to make it prosper, and to help the community in this part of town to really thrive."