Two visitor attractions in Grand Rapids say they've seen an attendance boost in the year since voters approved a property tax increase to support their operations.
That Kent County tax was expected to generate nearly $9 million a year for the John Ball Zoo and Grand Rapids Public Museum. The two publicly owned institutions are now giving several discounts to county residents, including free museum admission for youths and free zoo admission to county school groups.
The zoo has set a record with more than 530,000 visitors this year. The museum says its 230,000 ticketed visitors this year is up 15,000 from 2016's attendance.
Zoo CEO Peter D'Arienzo tells The Grand Rapids Press that the stable tax funding is helping it expand educational programs and care for its animals.