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2 Twin Cities zoos find Legislature can be a tough jungle

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Officials at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley and Como Zoo in St. Paul are pushing for a combined $24 million in state bonding money this year to remake exhibits and update aging facilities.

But they are finding their wish lists are not an easy sell at the Minnesota Legislature as lawmakers sift through a blizzard of requests for capital projects from around the state, Finance and Commerce reports.

Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed spending $10 million for the Minnesota Zoo as part of a broader bonding bill proposal, and a House version seeks $5.25 million, but both are less than what the zoo asked for, the publication reports.

Como's request for money didn't make either proposal at all.

The Minnesota Zoo aims to remake the former dolphin exhibit, reconstruct a new snow monkey exhibit, as well as other infrastructure projects.

Como Zoo officials want $2 million to put toward a $10 million seal exhibit, and they support a $7 million request for transportation and parking improvements at Como Regional Park, Finance and Commerce reports.

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