What's the future of Fort Des Moines?

Blank Park Zoo is eyeing some of the historic buildings

DES MOINES - The future of one of Des Moines' most historic buildings is up in the air. 

Fort Des Moines is a 116 year old military landmark on the city's south side. The buildings have been crumbling for decades, but now, Blank Park Zoo officials want to change that. They're looking to put a second entrance so free up space and traffic issues.

"As we have grown as an institution, it's becoming more of a need to figure out what needs to happen with the buildings," said Blank Park Zoo Mark Vukovich. "We're also toward 500,000, we need a second entrance to handle the flow and the growth of the zoo."

The recent push for change is because of a construction company's $40 million investment nearby, renovating old Fort Des Moines barracks into apartments.

Des Moines city council man Joe Gatto said it would cost more than $6 million to save the three buildings. With safety being his biggest concern, he's not sure it's worth it.

"We've got to have a good use for those buildings and right now, they sit in the middle of a parking lot, so we'll have to see the private sector come forward and see if they have a use for it," said Gatto. 

Blank Park Zoo said the history of these buildings would not be forgotten with the zoo's new plans. A part of the entrance would have a historical section.



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