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; Twitter: @lizzgior.

Talk to us

More in Local News

King County map logo
Tribal members dance to start an assemble on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day Friday evening at Tulalip Gathering Hall in Tulalip, Washington on September 30, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Still here’: Tulalip boarding school descendants celebrate resilience

On Orange Shirt Day, a national day of remembrance, the Tulalip Tribes honored those who suffered due to violent cultural suppression.

Councilmember Megan Dunn, left, stands next to County Executive Dave Somers as he presents his 2023 budget proposal to her, Councilmember Nate Nehring and Councilmember Sam Low. (Snohomish County)
As County Council begins budget talks, here’s how you can weigh in.

Department heads will make their pitches in the next few days. Residents will get a say at a forum and two hearings this month

Representative Rick Larsen speaks at the March For Our Lives rally on Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Larsen to hold community meeting in Everett on Monday

The veteran Democratic lawmaker will address recent legislation passed by Congress and other topics.

Everett gets state Auditor’s Office stewardship award

State Auditor Pat McCarthy presented the award during the most recent Everett City Council meeting.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Monroe in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
FBI: Monroe man trafficked, abused Mexican woman through marriage ruse

Rangel Ramirez-Manzano was charged with paying for a woman to be smuggled across the border, then essentially holding her hostage.

Toggle’s Bottle Shop is closed permanently on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Citing landlord dispute, Toggle’s closes in downtown Everett

The popular taproom shuttered Sunday. “Everett needs a cooperative landlord-tenant relationship in the commercial district,” a co-owner said.

Community Transit chief financial officer Eunjoo Greenhouse
Community Transit hires King County staffer as CFO

Eunjoo Greenhouse is set to join the agency Oct. 24 after years in King County government.

(Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest - US Forest Service)
U.S. 2 reopens east of Index as Bolt Creek wildfire moves north

The highway was blocked off earlier this week as the fire spread.

Most Read