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Carolyn Franks has officially sold ZOOMARS Petting Zoo to local developer Dan Almquist and his partners, Mike Burnett and Matt Higgins, a news release recently announced. Improvements are expected to come to the landmark farm, which is in the Los Rios Historic District.

The plan is to incorporate the property into the nearly 6-acre neighboring project, River Street Marketplace, for an agrarian-themed mix of retail, restaurants and office space set to break ground this spring, according to the news release. “Everyone understands what a unique and special place Los Rios is. This acquisition complements our plan to create a community gathering place,” Almquist said in the news release.

Franks decided to sell the petting zoo after Gillie Guinea Pig, her mascot, received global attention when it won a Brass Ring Award for Best Plush Toy at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions show in 2018

“Dan is the perfect person to take ZOOMARS to the next level,” Franks said.

Franks will reportedly stay on board for the next year to help with the transition.

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