StonehamBank Supports ZNE

June 15, 2015

The following letter has been sent to Governor Baker and Secretary Ash regarding funding for Zoo New England and in particular to address concerns about accreditation for Stone Zoo. 

June 15, 2015

Governor Charles Baker
Massachusetts State House
Office of the Governor
Room 280
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Governor Baker,
I’m writing to you today as a life-long Stoneham resident, the Vice Chair of the Zoo New England Board of Directors, and the President and CEO of StonehamBank, a community bank that has been serving our community for almost 130 years.

I am writing, specifically, to ask for your support and help in appropriating the necessary funding to allow Zoo New England to quickly and efficiently do the work necessary at Stone Zoo to ensure its accreditation by the AZA.

Here’s why I feel so strongly that Zoo New England, and specifically at this moment Stone Zoo, deserve our support:
• Like StonehamBank, Stone Zoo has been a partner in our community for more than 100 years, providing education, employment and entertainment for families not only from Stoneham, but from communities across the Commonwealth and from neighboring states as well.

• As a sitting member of the ZNE Board of Directors, I witness the devotion, commitment, passion, compassion and cooperative effort that each and every employee of ZNE brings to work every day. I know first-hand the challenges the staff face and overcome as they do those jobs. And, I witness the excitement over the arrival of a new baby gorilla or of sibling lions and are assured that they will get the best possible care and love.

• The visitor statistics for ZNE are impressive and worth considering as those numbers not only reflect the esteem in which the Zoos are held. More importantly, when more than a half million visitors walk through their gates every year, those same visitors are walking or driving through any number of our local communities, stopping to spend dollars locally and discovering other opportunities that our cities and towns provide for entertainment, shopping and professional services. A decrease in attendance at either zoo will reflect quickly and poorly on the economies of many local cities and towns.

• But by far, for me, the most compelling reasons to ensure that Franklin Park and Stone Zoos remain viable and attractive reaches beyond all the statistics, beyond all the rationales and even beyond the economics, something I work with every single day.

To me, the most compelling reason to ensure our Zoos remain viable lies in the eyes of a youngster who sees, for the very first time, two black bears wrestling over a ball just feet in front of them or snow leopards meandering the terrain and coming within footsteps of the viewing area. It lies in watching little ones delight at the antics of the meerkats and the red-rumped agouti. It lies in giving this generation and future generations the opportunity to see, hear, touch and learn about the many animals that inhabit our planet – animals they may never come across in the wild or on their journeys.

I urge you to help us maintain and grow the zoos. I urge you to take whatever action you deem necessary to give ZNE and our Commonwealth the tools and resources to make Franklin Park and Stone Zoo the premier attractions we all deserve.

Thank you for your time and attention to my letter.

Cordially,

Janice T. Houghton
President, CEO

Cc Secretary Jay Ash
Stoneham Board of Selectmen
Cynthia Mead


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