Jack Smiley, SMLC, Detroit
|Posted on Monday, April 04, 2005 - 1:04 am:
For far too many years, the Detroit Zoo failed to advertise the Belle Isle Aquarium. With a little publicity, attendance and revenues have soared!
While the recent attendance figures probably can't be sustained, they clearly point to the fact that--with proper management--the attendance receipts alone could likely pay for the operation of the Aquarium. Add in the potentially great amounts from individual donations and corporate and foundation grants, and we have a recipe for success!
In February and March of 2005, a total of 36,257 visitors enjoyed the Aquarium--bringing in $105,101 in revenues. This compares to January when 2,565 people visited the Aquarium, with receipts of $6,565.
The Aquarium may cost between $400,000 and $500,000 a year to operate. No one seems to know. The City Council needs to order an audit of the Aquarium so that the real operational costs of the Aquarium can be determined.
The controversy over the Aquarium should be viewed by Mayor Kilpatrick and by Ron Kagan as an opportunity--because it is! Will they squander this opportunity to rally great support for the Aquarium and for the Zoo...or will they continue to send the Zoo and the City on a downward spiral?
The Aquarium should be immediately re-opened. Since the money to operate the Aquarium is already there, all it will take is the turn of a key.
Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy