IT won't be long before zoo-goers on their way to see Hudson the polar bear will enter the Assiniboine Park Zoo through a new main gate.
City council on Wednesday approved giving the Assiniboine Park Conservancy a $3.1-million grant to help it replace the zoo's main gate on Roblin Boulevard.
Don Peterkin, chief operations officer of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, said the 11,000-sq.-ft. project will cost a total of $5.3 million.
"The rest of the funds comes from our ongoing fundraising campaign," Peterkin said on Thursday.
"The new entrance will be larger than what the old east gate is. We are planning for more people to come see the new Journey to Churchill exhibit and we are planning for the future."
The main gate used to be beside the parking lot on the east side of the zoo, where the zoo's gift store is, but it was closed and moved to the Roblin entrance at the south side of the facility.
Peterkin said when completed, the new improved entrance will include a gift shop, public washrooms, a membership area and office and lunchroom space for staff.
"That entrance has looked like a deserted back alley," he said.
"We will also be sprucing up the parking lot there."
Peterkin said construction is expected to begin in June and the entrance will be open next May just before the Journey to Churchill exhibit opens.