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County prepares to close zoo

By By Chris Allen Baker / staff writer
May 3, 2002
District 4 supervisor Q.V. Sykes, the most ardent supporter of a county zoo, is looking for new homes for the animals before the zoo's expected closing May 20.
Supervisors are expected to vote Monday to abandon the hotly-contested animal zoo they created at the Q.V. Sykes Recreational Center earlier this year. They had budgeted about $13,000 for the project and hired a part-time county employee to oversee its operations.
The turnabout came as District 1 supervisor Hank Florey changed his mind about supporting the venture. He said public pressure from his constituents convinced him to reverse his position and join District 3 supervisor Craig Hitt and District 5 supervisor Ray Boswell in opposition. District 2 supervisor Jimmie Smith has consistently supported the zoo.
Sykes said he has options of keeping some of the animals at his residence or giving some of the animals to family members.
Supervisors voted 3-2 on April 15 to hire Henry Stringfellow, a former elections commissioner, at $8 per hour on a part-time, 20 hour a week basis to work at the zoo.
Sykes said he expects Stringfellow will stay on the county payroll and help maintain the ballpark next to the zoo. Boswell said he will not support creating a position just for Stringfellow.