Youngsters delight over the young pigs at Forest Park Animal Farm in this 1999 photo. (Dan Bates / Herald file)

Youngsters delight over the young pigs at Forest Park Animal Farm in this 1999 photo. (Dan Bates / Herald file)

Future of Everett’s Animal Farm is uncertain

The petting zoo is funded through 2019, but if no group takes it over it’s likely to be eliminated in 2020.

EVERETT — For more than four decades the seasonal petting zoo at Forest Park has brought the farm experience to Everett.

The fate of the beloved summertime activity is uncertain as the city faces a multimillion dollar budget deficit.

It was set to be canceled for next year to help bridge the city’s financial gap. But at the urging of Everett City Councilmember and budget chairman Scott Murphy, funding for the Animal Farm was reinstated for 2019.

“I just know what a special amenity that is for us,” Murphy said Friday. “And to see that canceled without any additional effort didn’t make any sense from a quality-of-life standpoint.”

He has fond memories of taking his children to see the animals.

Murphy pushed for at least one more year of funding in the hopes another group would eventually take over the Animal Farm.

“Once you cancel something like this, it’s very difficult to get it resurrected, if not almost impossible,” Murphy said.

If another organization doesn’t take it over, Murphy said, funding for the Animal Farm likely will be eliminated during the next budget cycle.

In 2018, more than 35,000 people visited the Animal Farm, which is open for about seven weeks each summer. The activity, which is offered for free, costs the city about $70,000 a year. Paid seasonal staff and volunteers run the program. The largest expense is labor, said Kari Goepfert, a spokeswoman for the city.

The Animal Farm has housed horses, ponies, rabbits, chickens, ducks, pigs and goats.

“There aren’t many municipalities offering this kind of recreation in their communities,” said Lori Cummings, Everett’s director of parks and recreation.

Charging an entrance fee didn’t make sense, Cummings said.

Perhaps 4-H groups or a business already running a small farm could make good candidates for taking over the farm, she said.

“We aren’t sure what the interest will be,” Cummings said. “We’re still waiting. We haven’t heard from many.”

The city is accepting proposals through Dec. 16 from organizations interested in running the program.

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @lizzgior.

Talk to us

More in Local News

This undated photo, provided by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, shows U.S. Army Cpl. Benjamin Bazzell, 18, of Seymour, Conn., killed during the Korean War, who has been identified. The remains of Bazzell and other soldiers were turned over by North Korea to the U.S. in 2018 following a meeting between then-President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency via AP)
Remains of Everett woman’s brother killed in Korean War identified

The Army corporal went missing in action during the conflict in 1950.

Riaz Khan speaks at the groundbreaking at the site of the Islamic Center of Mukilteo that he helped spearhead over the last seven years on Saturday, March 6, 2021 in Mukilteo, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
All faiths invited to Saturday meeting for Mukilteo mosque

Construction is to begin in April. Pledges of $800,000 are needed to complete the project.

Brian Holtzclaw (left) and Tim Schmitt.
Recount confirms Holtzclaw’s re-election to Mill Creek council

In Stanwood, a machine recount validated Tim Schmitt’s defeat of City Councilwoman Judy Williams.

No one was injured in a fire that caused more than $200,000 damage to a commercial building in Edmonds early Wednesday morning. (South County Fire)
Fire damages former Edmonds Family Fun Center building

There were no injuries and the cause was not immediately clear.

William Talbott II pleads his innocence before a judge sentences him to life with out parole at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 in Everett, Wash. A Snohomish County judge sentenced William Talbott II to life in prison without parole, for murdering a young Canadian couple in 1987. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Cold-case murder conviction reversed due to juror’s bias

William Talbott, the world’s first convicted forensic genealogy defendant, was accused of killing a young Canadian couple in 1987.

Driver hits pedestrian on U.S. 2 trestle near Lake Stevens

The man, 56, was walking westbound near the Highway 204 interchange when he tried to cross the lanes.

Man identified after fatal fall from Arlington cell tower

Michael Vasquez, 24, of Las Vegas, fell about 140 feet while working Saturday afternoon.

A map of alternative routes and stations for the Sound Transit light rail extension from Lynnwood to Everett. (Sound Transit)
City of Everett outlines light rail priorities for 2037

Per a letter to Sound Transit, the mayor and planning director say they want four stations open as soon as possible.

Dr Chris Spitters (center), Interim Health Officer, makes makes his address Monday evening during a Special Meeting of the Snohomish Health District Board of Health at the Administration Builiding in Everett on March 2, 2020.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Chris Spitters, Snohomish County’s chief health officer, to step down

The physician who has been the official voice of the pandemic here says his departure is not work-related.

Most Read