A Florida Heritage Garden to complement a new veterinary hospital at the Lowry Park Zoo will be named for former Gov. Bob Martinez.
The surprise announcement was made at the zoo's annual black-tie fundraiser, Karamu, by Robert M. Thomas, chairman of the Lowry Park Zoological Society Board of Trustees.
Thomas also announced that the zoo has raised $7 million in a $10 million New Horizons Capital Campaign. When the campaign is completed, the zoo will build the Veterinary Hospital and Conservation and Animal Science Center and the garden.
Martinez, a South Tampa resident who was governor from 1987-91 and mayor of Tampa from 1979-86, was instrumental in the construction of the zoo, which reopened with a complete renovation in 1988. The city of Tampa had committed $8 million to build the first phase.
He told the Karamu guests that the condition of the old zoo’s cages was unacceptable “and I shut it down.”
Martinez's recognition came just one day after his wife, Mary Jane, was honored with a cottage in her name at the Children's Services Center in North Tampa.