Harpursville, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Since Jordan Patch was a little kid, he dreamed of working with animals for a living.
Patch, 29, used to own the Dino Bar and Grille in Endicott, but it was destroyed in last year's floods.
Now he has a second chance on his dream career, a chance made possible through support from his community.
"As a kid growing up, I was always dragging my parents to every animal attraction, every farm that was on any vacation or road trip we went on," said Patch. "So I kind of feel like this was meant to be. The opportunity finally came around for me to do this, and I embraced it, and I ran with it. "
On Thursday evening, the future of his exotic animal farm rode on a Town of Colesville board vote.
In order to allow this type of agri-business to become a reality, the board had to vote "yes" on changing the land use law for agricultural zoning so that it would allow petting zoos and other agri-tourism businesses to operate in the town.
The public debated the matter for a good hour. Some said they believed it would be an eyesore on the countryside, while others objected the eight ft. fence.
But support for making the animal park possible outweighed the objections.
Neighbors said they loved that Patch was taking the time to rebuild a once run-down farm.
Others said it would bring an important economic boost to the area and keep young families in Harpursville.
In the end, the board voted a unanimous "yes," giving Patch the green light.
The exotic animal farm will be called "Animal Adventure" and will feature a wide variety of animals, from antelopes to zebras and everything in between.
The park will be divided into different sections, featuring different species. One section will be called the South America Water Exhibit.
"This is the South America Water Exhibit," said Patch. "It's one of the ponds on the property. It's a very neat exhibit because here we are actually going to incorporate young water buffalo. And there's a deck that will go over the pond, where you will be able to stand up there and look at the animals."
Patch said his goal is to have the park open by spring.
Construction is four months in, and the next steps include inspections by the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the D.E.C. and the U.S.D.A.
Patch said he plans on working with children and hosting educational school trips at the site. He also said he plans on celebrating all holidays at the park.