01/31/06 — Plans on track for new shelter

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Plans on track for new shelter

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on January 31, 2006 1:55 PM

While Wayne County officials await bids for designing a new animal shelter, residents supporting the project say they are continuing to collect signatures on a petition calling for its creation.

Doris Petrak, a member of Concerned Citizens of Wayne County, said the group now has between 15,000 and 16,000 signatures.

Members of the group are trying to contact officials with every municipality in the county, she said, in an effort to gain widespread support for building the shelter.

"We do not want to leave any municipality or person out. It's not the commissioners' shelter, it's the people's shelter," she said.

County Manager Lee Smith said county officials should receive bids from architectural firms within a few weeks.

"It is still out for bid. The deadline is in a couple of weeks. Then we'll gather the proposals and take it from there," he said

In December, the county's Animal Control Advisory Committee presented commissioners with a proposed design for a new shelter. It would be a 10,000-square-foot facility that could house more than 100 dogs in an emergency and more than 50 cats at any given time. The cost of building the structure was estimated at $1.2 million. Annual operating costs were estimated at $43,500.

Commissioners approved a site for the shelter on county-owned land on Eighth Street, near the old Wayne Community College campus.

As officials await the return of bids, support for a shelter is growing, Mrs. Petrak said.

Last month, she said, she was approached by preschool children who wanted to donate their saved up change to build a memory garden at the shelter site in honor of the pets they have lost.

"These were 31/2- and 4-year-old children asking for a memory garden in memory of their pets. I just couldn't believe it," Mrs. Petrak said.

She said that in one visit to a doctor's office, she filled two petition sheets with signatures.

"We are not going to stop. We've gone this far and we're going to continue," Mrs. Petrak said. "We will not stop until the commissioners say yes, the ground is broken and they begin building."