Here's when the NC Zoo could break ground on new Asia expansion

ASHEBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- This fall, work is lined up to begin on the first new continent expansion at the NC Zoo since the park opened North America in 1994.

The zoo has plans and contractors lined up for the Asia expansion, but the NC General Assembly needs to pass a budget with the money needed for the project.

The News & Observer reported voters in 2016 approved $25 million in ConnectNC bonds to go toward the development of Asia and Australia in the zoo.

If construction begins in the fall, the attraction would likely open in 2023.

The top features in the area would be tigers, Komodo dragons and red pandas along with Chinese alligators, cranes, otters and vultures.

In his March budget, Gov. Roy Cooper recommended appropriating $46 million needed to build the Asia area. The build is expected to help the zoo attract more than one million visitors a year, including visitors who may stay in the area and go for a second day.

The zoo was closed for three months in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and reopened in June 2020. It now operates at 40% capacity and serves around 4,000 visitors a day at maximum capacity.

Read the entire story from the News & Observer here.

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