Late Chief Justice leaves gift to Topeka Zoo

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Among upcoming additions to the Topeka Zoo is one not publicly revealed until Tuesday night - an Asian garden and tea house.

It's made possible through a gift from the estate of the late Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Kay McFarland. Topeka City Council members learned of the gift at their meeting Tuesday.

Councilwoman Elaine Schwartz, a close friend of McFarland, presented Friends of the Zoo president Fred Patton with a check for $14,700. It represents the first installment of the gift from McFarland's estate.

It was McFarland's wish to bring the Asian garden to the zoo. Patton told 13 NEWS that she even started collaborating on preliminary designs before her death last year.

Patton says the initial money will fund a site survey and geotechnical study on the proposed site at the zoo, with a design process to follow.

Patton says McFarland's estate is expected to cover most expenses for the project, with Schwartz leading a private campaign to raise the rest.