SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Months ago, the Sacramento Zoo announced it was looking to move out of Land Park to be able to expand, and one of the sites people brought up was the old Sacramento Kings' stomping grounds — Sleep Train Arena.
Now, Natomas residents are very serious about the idea. They've created a group called "We Want a Zoo."
Sleep Train Arena could become the new location for Sac Zoo, but the Kings have other plans. They want to rezone the arena and build a commercial-housing development.
A zoo was not mentioned in the ownership's proposal to the city.
"'We Want a Zoo' is about the future of Natomas and the future of the Sacramento Zoo," said Brandy Tuzon Boyd, who is part of the group.
Boyd said that the group has gathered around 900 signatures so far in an online petition. She created a group called "We Want A Zoo." So far they've gathered 900 signatures in support.
"They do not support more houses and retail but they do support zoo relocating to Natomas," Boyd said.
This group is passionate, including a 6-year-old girl named Ashley, who went so far as to write a letter to the city.
"I think it would be better for the zoo to move to Sleep Train Arena, because it has more room and that's what the animals really need," Ashley said.
The city is hoping for an open discussion ahead of a decision, and and officials are already hearing some concerns.
"People don't want more housing, you know," said Karina Talamantes, Chief of Staff for Sacramento City Councilmember Angelique Ashby. "We have a lot of development projects in Natomas. We are open and want to hear from the community in regards to what it is they want."
The group is encouraging people to attend the city's scoping meeting for the Kings' arena on Thursday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 1119 at City Hall.
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Sacramento Zoo Executive Director and CEO Jason Jacobs told ABC10 he is exploring the idea of moving the zoo from its longtime Land Park location to the Sleep Train Arena in Natomas.