Zoo Will Re-Open Soon

The Hattiesburg Zoo is scheduled to reopen in March after three months of renovations. The city closed the zoo at Kamper Park to install new walkways just after Thanksgiving. ``I think with the improvements that have been done so far, people are going to be shocked at the appearance,'' said zoo administrator Lori Banchero. ``I think they're going to be totally impressed by it.''

Bennie Sellers, Hattiesburg's director of public works, said there were about three weeks this year that workers couldn't do anything because of the weather. Right now about 60 percent of the project has been completed, Sellers said. Work crews are installing a wider walkway with new drainage from the front entrance to the African Veldt exhibit at the rear of the zoo.

Banchero said she and other officials were thinking about partially opening the zoo and leaving the African Veldt closed. ``Originally we were looking at some alternative for trying to get it opened quickly,'' Banchero said. ``If they got the walkway done to a certain point, we would detour the people and close the African Veldt. But it's going along so quickly right now that we think the walkway is going to be done.''