Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is looking to expand its Bridge to the Wild project into Phase 2 and provided updates.
Phase 1, initiated in 2019, brought:
- Infrastructure improvements
- The new Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Aquarium & Reptile Conservation Center
- Brought white rhinos back to Riverbanks after 30 years
- Currently helping to develop the Komodo dragon breeding facility + a new state-of-the-art education facility.
Watch this seven-minute video to see what the local zoo has in store as the Bridge to the Wild project continues to expand. Locals can expect:
- River development
- New restaurant overlooking the Saluda River and new orangutan exhibit
- New SC nature and history preserve
- Aerial trams
- New walkways + habitats that house black bears, red wolves, and bald eagles
The Zoo is seeking funding for Phase Two through a twenty-year general obligation bond, impacting Richland + Lexington counties. It’s estimated that a ~$44.8 million investment from Richland County + a ~$35.2 million investment will be made by Lexington County.
Official requests for consideration of the bond by both counties have been delivered, and each county will now determine the timeline for the next steps.
The adjustment wouldn’t impact property owners until 2025, and the estimated maximum cost of $7.20 per $100,000 of assessed property value would occur in 2026. The impact will then decrease each year until the bond’s expiration.
“This development will keep Riverbanks as one of the top-ranked zoos in the country and a must-see attraction bringing countless tourists to the Midlands,” says Chuck Whipple, VP Director of Business Development, ECS Southeast. “More importantly, it will lead development along the rivers.”
The project is expected to create 500 jobs + increase Riverbanks’ economic impact in the Midlands to over $175 million annually.