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Indy Zoo gets $2M gift for planned orangutan center

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The Indianapolis Zoo has received a $2 million gift toward its planned orangutan center.

The zoo said Thursday it received the gift from the family foundation of Dean and Barbara White of Crown Point. Dean White is co-founder of Merrillville-based White Lodging, whose developments include the towering JW Marriott Hotel that overlooks the zoo in downtown Indianapolis.

The zoo says the fundraising campaign for its International Orangutan Center has secured $25 million of its $30 million goal.

Groundbreaking for the project is set for next month. It's scheduled to open in May 2014.

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  • Disappointing Location
    The orangutan center is of course exciting news, but I am troubled about the "back lot" location of the exhibit will seriously damage its popularity. Dr. Jeff Bonner had it right years ago when he said to put it front and center as you enter the zoo. I am afraid the current management team there is going to once again demonstrate mediocrity and a lack of creativity that has been missing sine the planning of the White River Gardens. Too bad, this exhibit should be a rock star for the downtown. Somebody with vision needs to step in.

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