Officials said the City of Winnipeg is considering a proposal that would enable the Assiniboine Park Conservancy to upgrade the entrance to the zoo within the next year.

The early upgrade is being considered with an anticipated spike in the number of visitors when the Journey to Churchill exhibit opens in 2014.

“The Journey to Churchill will be a must-see tourist destination attracting visitors from around the world, and a real source of pride for Winnipeggers,” said Mayor Sam Katz in a statement. “We want guests to be impressed from the moment they approach the gate.”

The conservancy has requested a grant for $3.1 million be advanced ahead of schedule, said the city. “The funds requested by APC have already been included in the City’s 2014 Capital Forecast, and the total City funding commitment over the ten year period will not increase as a result,” said the city.

“The Winnipeg Public Service will publish a report today, recommending approval of the request. If approved by City Council, $3.1 million for the new Zoo gate would be advanced in 2013, and capital grant requests in 2014, 2015 and 2016 would be reduced accordingly,” said the city on April 19.

The mayor’s executive policy committee will consider the report at an April 24 meeting.