Parrot Jungle too broke to make payments... low attendence cited

Monday, January 10 2005 @ 11:38 PM UTC

Contributed by: MikeSchindlinger

MIAMI -- The new Parrot Jungle is having a hard time paying its bills, and because of an agreement with the county, so far Miami-Dade is having to pick up the multimillion-dollar tab.

The attraction has not made enough money to cover its costs since it reopened in its new location two summers ago.

In 1998, the city of Miami agreed to pay 80 percent of a federal loan used to construct Parrot Jungle if the city could improve its credit standing enough to qualify to administer federal funds. The obligation for the $25 million loan was never passed off to Parrot Jungle, so now Miami-Dade County is responsible for the loan.

The county made a $1.3 million payment in June and now another $930,000 is due Feb. 1.

Miami-Dade County is using funds designated for social services, and some officials are objecting to using that money for an attraction.

Majority owner Bern Levine said Parrot Jungle will present a written plan to the county commission before their meeting next Tuesday, when the commission is expected to consider the future of the attraction and how the revenue deficit will be handled.