04/26/07 — Bids should be out next week for new animal shelter

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Bids should be out next week for new animal shelter

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on April 26, 2007 2:00 PM

Wayne County officials are making the final refinements to the proposed design for a new animal shelter before the project goes out for bid sometime during the next week.

After the bid process, which usually takes anywhere from 30 to 45 days, County Manager Lee Smith said he hopes construction can begin this summer on the 11,500-square-foot, $1.6 million facility.

The state-of-the-art facility will replace the existing, 1,150-square-foot facility at 900 Brick St., which is more than 50 years old.

Smith added he hopes the construction of a new facility will be easier than the process of finding the building's new address. After months of looking for a location, Goldsboro City Council approved a rezoning request earlier this month for a little more than four acres that would allow for the construction of an animal shelter off Clingman Street near Goldsboro's city garage.

Now comes the challenge of preparing new policies for the shelter and finding the money to build it.

Local residents have done their part by contributing about $125,000 through the end of March. And more should come to county coffers if certain criteria are met.

Last September, two anonymous donors said they would provide $200,000 to offset some of the cost of a new animal shelter if policy changes were made at the new facility. Aside from building the shelter in a centrally located area, the donors also stipulated that a new shelter must focus on increasing animal adoptions.

Wayne Animal Shelter Director Justin Scally said the county is making strides to ensure the best policies are implemented. The shelter has already implemented a "Pet of the Week" program to highlight the most adoptable animals. Shelter employees will also have off-site adoptions, such as an event planned this weekend at the North Carolina Pickle Festival in Mount Olive.

The anonymous donors also said animals must be euthanized via sodium pentobarbital injection instead of the existing carbon monoxide gas chamber.

Scally said the shelter has completed the necessary paperwork so euthanasia by injection can be implemented at the new facility, but state and federal agencies have not finalized those documents yet. Several animal control officers are also enrolled for animal cruelty courses next month in Pitt County.

Smith said he is glad the shelter construction has overcome its slow start.

County officials originally thought county-owned land on the north side of Eighth Street between Humphrey Street and Wayne Memorial Drive would serve as the new home for the shelter. But the land had to be rezoned by Goldsboro City Council before the county could make any plans.

During a public hearing on the issue last September, several property owners near the proposed site said an animal shelter would be a "detriment to future development," citing the devaluation of home and business property.

When Wayne officials returned to the drawing board, they considered another parcel of county-owned land near the Goldsboro-Wayne Municipal Airport north of the city. But engineers' borings on the site determined that the land was not sufficient enough to support the structure.

So, officials once again considered county-owned property in the city limits of Goldsboro, which would require another rezoning request to City Council and another public hearing.

Several nearby residents of the proposed site off Clingman Street near Goldsboro's city garage told council members that they did not want an animal shelter in their neighborhood because it could bring more traffic. Others said they felt placing an animal shelter there was an attempt by local officials to condemn black neighborhoods in the city.

Despite those concerns, council approved the 4.5-acre rezoning request with only one dissenting vote from the Rev. Charles Williams, the city's District 4 representative.