Vote YES for the Zoo and Museum November 8!

The John Ball Zoo and Grand Rapids Public Museum are treasured institutions that
enhance the quality of life for Kent County residents.

Keep up to date on the proposal to support the Zoo and Museum.

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Preserve Our Past

by creating a dedicated, stable source of funding for the Zoo and Museum so both of these treasured cultural institutions can do the maintenance and make repairs they need.

Provide Quality Care, Quality Exhibits

by making improvements to ensure high quality care for 1,600 animals and 250,000 unique artifacts.

Prepare for Our Future

by updating exhibits and facilities so all Kent County residents, families and kids can continue to enjoy them for years to come.

The John Ball Zoo and Grand Rapids Public Museum are seeking a millage to establish a dedicated source of funding for the care of animals and artifacts, to provide enhanced educational programs and for the repair and renovation of exhibits.

10 Questions and Answers About the Zoo and Museum Proposal

1) What is the John Ball Zoo and the Grand Rapids Public Museum proposal?

The Zoo and the Museum are asking Kent County voters to approve a .44 millage on Tuesday, Nov. 8 that will create a dedicated, stable source of funding for these institutions. It will allow the Zoo to provide high-quality care for 1,600 animals and the Museum to care for 250,000 unique artifacts. 

2) How much will the millage cost Kent County homeowners?

If passed, the proposal is an annual increase of $37.40 per year or $3.12 per month, for the average homeowner.

3) When will the millage appear?

The Kent County millage will be on the Nov. 8, 2016, General Election ballot.

4) What is the length of the millage?

This is a 10-year millage that starts in 2016 and ends in 2025.

5) Why is this millage necessary for the Zoo and Museum?

This millage is necessary because the Zoo and Museum have lost significant public funding over time, with the Zoo receiving only minimal public funding and the Museum receiving no annual public funding. In recent years, the Zoo and Museum have had to make layoffs, defer necessary maintenance projects, and reduce access to exhibits to tighten their belts and do more with less. 

6) How will the millage benefit Kent County residents?

This millage will preserve these treasured cultural institutions and ensure both the Zoo and Museum can get the maintenance and repairs they need so all Kent County residents, families and kids can continue to enjoy them for years to come.

It will give children in Kent County free admission to the Museum and school groups free admission to the Zoo, reduce admission for Kent County seniors and provide free parking at both the Zoo and Museum.

It will also provide support for future exhibits at the Zoo and Museum, update exhibits and facilities and increase cutting-edge educational programs. 

7) How many people visit the Zoo and Museum?

More than 800,000 people visit each year, including more than 75,000 students across Kent County.

8) Why should someone vote “Yes” on this millage?

This millage would preserve the history and protect the future of these treasured cultural institutions. It would also ensure both institutions can be maintained, repaired and improved.

9) How will the Zoo and Museum be held accountable for this millage?

All millage dollars will go through an independent financial audit every year, with spending disclosed on a public website to ensure transparency and accountability.

10) Besides the Zoo and Museum, why are other organizations (i.e. Downtown Development Authorities) listed on the ballot proposal?

By state law, all ballot proposals are required to list authorities that are able to capture funds from millages. The Zoo and Museum have no control over this. Nearly 100% of the funds generated by this proposal will go directly to the Zoo and Museum to support repairs, renovations, improved animal care and expanded educational exhibits. The bottom line: Voting Yes will preserve these treasured institutions for generations of Kent County seniors, families and children to enjoy.

11) Where can I find more information about the Zoo and Museum?