2023 Abilene Bond Program

The 2023 Abilene Bond Program proposes projects to improve the Abilene Zoo and the Parks & Recreation Department of the City of Abilene in three different projects.

  • $15 Million for Zoo Improvements
  • $28 Million for Recreation Center Improvements
  • $9 Million for Hike & Bike Trail Improvements

Project Presentation

2023 Bond Program

Voting Information

Zoo 2023 Phase 1: Wild Encounters & Ferocious EatsAbilene Zoo Projects

Building new facilities and improving existing facilities at the Abilene Zoo expands the zoo footprint and creates opportunities to add more animals & habitats.

The first phase of the Abilene Zoo's four phase plan, "A Bold Adventure," is included in the 2023 Bond election. It presents voters with a possible $15 million dollar bond for phase one of the plan, called "Wild Encounters and Ferocious Eats."

Those bond dollars would be combined with $9.5 million privately-fundraised dollars provided by the Abilene Zoological Society to meet the total $24.5 million dollar cost of "Wild Encounters and Ferocious Eats." This public-private partnership would create 26 jobs and fulfill the needs to complete phase 1A and 1B of the Abilene Zoo expansion.

Project Summary

  • Phase 1A
    • The expansion of the current rhino habitat will bring additional rhinos to the Zoo
    • A new amphitheater & event lawn will host annual events and act as an outdoor classroom for thousands of schoolchildren that visit each year on school field trips or during summer camps
    • A new multispecies habitat & barn will give room to grow the giraffe herd and add new African hoof-stock species like eland, impala, and gazelle
  • Phase 1B
    • A new two-story café will offer experiential indoor dining with tall glass windows showcasing the lion pride on one side, and the future cheetah coalition on the other. The second level of the café features incredible views of the city, and vast habitats filled with new species from around the world (coming in future phases)
    • A new lion habitat with interactive elements will bring lions closer than ever
    • A meerkat habitat and a cheetah habitat will bring these species to Abilene

Projected Timeline

  • January 2024: Design Process Begins
  • Spring 2025: Break Ground
  • Spring 2026: Phase 1A Opens
  • Spring 2027: Phase 1B Opens

Total bond expense presented on November 2023 ballot for Phase 1A & 1B improvements: $15 million

Total privately-funded dollars for Phase 1A & 1B improvements to combine with bond dollars: $9.5 million.

The total expense of Phase 1A and 1B of the zoo improvements, including public and private funds: $24.5 million.

Tax Rate Impact

If passed, the Abilene Zoo's $15 million bond proposal would result in a $.0145 increase in the City of Abilene tax rate.

Zoo 2023 Bond - Stage & Event Lawn
Zoo 2023 Bond - Lion Habitat
Zoo 2023 Bond - Lion Habitat
Zoo 2023 Bond - Cafe View from the Balcony
Zoo 2023 Bond - Cafe Exterior
Zoo 2023 Bond - Cafe Exterior
Zoo 2023 Bond - Phase 1A & 1B Plan
Zoo 2023 Bond - Overall Plan

Recreation Center Improvements

The Parks & Recreation Department proposes the demolition, design, rebuilding, & outfitting of two recreation centers that are past their useful life and get them up to health & safety code.

The project used a recreation feasibility study and an open meeting to gather public input and help shape the design of the new recreation centers. Only one center would be worked on at a time to keep the other center open. The design is the same for both centers and leaves room for future growth.

Project Summary

  • Demolish, design, rebuild & equipment for G.V. Daniels Recreation Center
  • Demolish, design, rebuild & equipment for Cesar Chavez Recreation Center

Projected Timeline

  • 9-12 Month Design Process
  • 14-18 Month Construction Process each center

The total expense for the Recreation Center Projects is $28 million

Tax Rate Impact

If passed, the Recreation Centers $28 million bond proposal would result in a $.0270 increase in the City of Abilene tax rate.

Recreation Center Bond 2023 - Exterior Mockup
Recreation Center Bond 2023 - Interior Mockup
Recreation Center Bond 2023 - Cesar Chavez Daniels Site Plan
Recreation Center Bond 2023 - G.V. Daniels Site Plan

Hike & Bike Trail Improvements

The Parks & Recreation Department proposes to add a trail around Kirby Lake. A 2017 Community survey as well as the 2023 Parks & Recreation Master plan revealed hiking and biking trails were at the top of the list of recreation elements in Abilene, and stakeholder meetings were also held for more public input.

Project Summary

  • Connects to the Maple Street Project in place
  • Create new trailheads, natural trails, bird watching
  • Concrete trail along the perimeter of Kirby Lake

Projected Timeline

  • 9-12 Month Design Process
  • 12 Month Construction Process

The total expense for the Hike & Bike Trail Improvements Projects is $9 million

Tax Rate Impact

If passed, the Hike & Bike Trail $9 million bond proposal would result in a $.0087 increase in the City of Abilene tax rate.

Kirby Lake Trail Map