Cleveland Metroparks Board Wants to Expand Cheetah Exhibit, Repair Hinckley Dam

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The Cleveland Metroparks Board met today to discuss the expansion of its cheetah exhibit and the financial future of the Hinckley Dam.

Cleveland Metropark Zoo's new cheetah exhibit would incorporate a large trail, to relocate guests and consolidate the Savannah exhibit, while adding a new conservation building that gives guests the option to walk through. There are also plans to include a "Cheetah Runway" exhibit inside the building, where kids can see first hand how fast the animals run and catch prey.

After the meeting concluded, a work session followed discussing how to fix and improve the Hinckley Lake Dam. Repairs to the 90-year-old dam will cost around $6-$8 million, which Board Vice President Dan Moore questioned.

"That's a hell of a lot of money," Moore said.

The money would go to armoring the dam to help protect it in case a so-called "storm of biblical proportions" ever hits, suggested Sean McDermott, Metroparks chief planning and design officer. Brian Zimmerman, Metroparks CEO, suggested alternative funding but an agreement could not be reached and the work session will be brought up again at the next board meeting on June 15 to hammer out the rest of the details.

Cleveland's Metroparks board also passed all of the general action items without opposition such as a budget adjustment, acquiring the 127-acre Astorhurst Land Company Property in the Bedford Reservation, asphalt parking lot improvements and building a 2.8-mile Valley Parkway connector trail.

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