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Albany officials OK proposal to raise ticket prices at Chehaw Wild Animal Park

The Chehaw board seeks first price increase for the wild animal part of the park since 2011

Antelopes gather in the shade Thursday in Chehaw’s African Veldt section of its wild animal habitat. (Staff photo: Jim Hendricks)

Antelopes gather in the shade Thursday in Chehaw’s African Veldt section of its wild animal habitat. (Staff photo: Jim Hendricks)

ALBANY — For the first time since 2011, visitors to Chehaw’s wild animal park will pay more for admission tickets starting April 18.

The Albany City Commission approved a proposal by the Chehaw Park Authority that would raise admission fees at the zoo portion of the park by $1.10 for adults and 35 cents for children. Chehaw Executive Director Doug Porter presented the authority’s proposal to the Albany City Commission at its work session Tuesday morning, and the commission gave nonbinding approval to the request.

“Admission fees at theme parks and other facilities like ours generally go up for two reasons,” Porter said. “They offset new expenses or pay for new benefits that are offered. One of the things that will change with the admission increase is that we will no longer charge $3 for a ride through our veldt attraction; that will become a first-come, first-served attraction.

“And while we’ll talk more about this at a later date, we are planning new animal attractions at the park this spring.”

Adult admission tickets to Chehaw’s wild animal park will increase to $7.85 and children to $5.10 under the new fee schedule.

There were no proposed changes to the price of general admission to the non-zoo part of the park, which includes the children’s play park, picnic areas, BMX track, Disc Golf course, stocked catfish pond, nature trails, boat dock on Lake Chehaw, mountain bike trail and camping area. The cost for entering that area will continue to be $3 for adults and $2 for children 4-12, senior adults and military.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the commission tentatively approved alcohol license applications for Downtown Eatery & More at 701 N. Jefferson St. and for the Viet Pho restaurant at 717 N. Westover Blvd. The board also Ok’d a one-day alcohol license for a fundraiser at Darton State College on May 15.

Commissioners also:

— Approved travel expenses by city officials;

— Accepted right-of-way property from Dougherty County and approved a subsequent quit-claim deed for an impacted property owner;

— Provided notice of three public hearings that will be held at their night meeting Tuesday, including one concerning the closure of Grace Avenue; another pertaining to Rhema International Ministries’ request to build a 4,000-square-foot administration building in an R-2 district, and a third that makes changes to a text amendment in the downtown Riverfront Overlay District. The final two matters were sent to the City Commission by the Albany-Dougherty Planning Commission, which unanimously approved both requests.