Little Rock Zoo to build new playground | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Little Rock Zoo to build new playground

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2012 at 9:08 AM

HAPPENING AT THE ZOO: New playground will be accessible to all.
  • HAPPENING AT THE ZOO: New playground will be accessible to all, even children in wheelchairs.

NEW AT THE ZOO: Director Mike Blakeley with drawing of new play area. Oops. I cropped out a local dignitary.
  • Allen Kerr Twitter feed
  • NEW AT THE ZOO: Director Mike Blakeley with drawing of new play area. Oops. I cropped out a local dignitary.
The Little Rock Zoo today will announce a new playground to be built by Cafe Africa. The project will be helped by $20,000 in state money funneled through the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District. It is doing Rep. Allen Kerr, in a tough re-election campaign against Democrat Barbara Graves, a huge favor by giving him free grip-and-grin publicity for today's check passing.

I guess it's just a coincidence that Kerr and state GIF money distributed through CAPDD are arriving together at the Little Rock Zoo. Because we all know a taxpayer lawsuit ended the practice of legislators being allowed to designate state surplus for hometown projects. So Kerr surely isn't claiming any credit for this money. And the Little Rock Zoo, which is supported by ALL city taxpayers, surely wouldn't single out one legislator who happens to have a general election contest for TV camera sunshine, would it? I know a good Republican like Kerr would NEVER endorse a system of earmarks in which state tax money is wink-wink divided up among favored legislators without going through an open legislative process.

Right?

The project will cost $100,000, about $75,000 from the zoo budget and some smaller contributions from the Junior League and private donors.

PS: I probably should strip the sarcasm and say that, as a workaround for the taxpayer lawsuit, the legislature has distributed surplus to planning districts for distribution and legislators then apply for the money, as Kerr did for this grant. That's the same place the Chamber of Commerce got $50,000 funneled through Pulaski County for the technology park.

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