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The Smithsonian’s security plans for the National Zoo face more scrutiny

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton requested a meeting to discuss the proposal

Beloved Panda Bao Bao Departs Washington’s National Zoo For China Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

A proposal to cut the number of entrances to the National Zoo from 13 to three in the name of security is facing some pushback from Washingtonians — including Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). Yesterday, Norton requested a meeting with the Acting Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Steven Monfort, to go over the plan

“The National Zoo is one of D.C.’s most precious local spaces and is unique for its open access to neighborhood residents,” Norton said in a statement. “It is unlike any other Smithsonian facility because it is a park, not a building, and is located in the heart of a local D.C. neighborhood. I have had to fight hyper-security proposals for most of my congressional career, particularly after 9/11. I want to hear more from the Zoo about its proposals, some of which I can understand given today’s security concerns. However, it is even more clear that the public needs to be heard on any changes to access. The current proposal appears to be a wish list of a government security agency rather than an approach that balances legitimate security concerns with public access.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Business Journal reports that the Smithonian’s Albert Horvath, said on the Kojo Nnamdi Show that cutting the number of entrances will have a “very, very small impact on the visitor experience,” and the three entrances in question are the ones that are most popular with visitors already.

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