NEW BEDFORD — Thanks to a generous charitable donation, Buttonwood Park Zoo's newest aquatic exhibit now has a new name after final approval by the city council Thursday night.

The Rainforests, Rivers and Reefs sponsored by Stoico/FIRSTFED exhibit is named after the Robert F. Stoico/FIRSTFED Charitable Foundation, which made a $450,000 donation to the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society to hold naming rights for the next ten years.

Council President Joe Lopes says the zoological society continues to modernize the city's zoo.

"They're doing an amazing job on always bringing in new animals and we're going to have a new exhibit opening up fairly soon, but that's because the zoological society and the zoo are very aggressively out there trying to give everyone the best zoo possible in the area," said Lopes.

The exhibit will offer education and conservation programs while guests can also see species found in fresh and marine environments from all over the world and will open to the public in July.

Stoico is the former president and CEO of FIRSTFED Bank, which was based out of Swansea until a merger with Webster Bank in 2004.

According to their website, the foundation has contributed nearly $25 million to communities in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island since 1998.

Also during the brief meeting (a possible record-setting 15 minutes), dates and deadlines for this year's Municipal Election were approved by the council. If you're interested for running for office, a full list of the dates and deadlines can be found here: 2017 Preliminary and Municipal Election Dates and Deadlines.

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