02/07/08 — Shelter on schedule

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Shelter on schedule

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on February 7, 2008 1:48 PM

With about 45 percent of the work done on the new animal adoption and education center, Wayne County Animal Control Director Justin Scally said construction is moving along as planned.

"It's really going well out there," he told Wayne County commissioners at their meeting Tuesday. "At this point everything is on schedule. It's starting to look like the (architect's) rendering."

The goal is to have construction complete in July or August. Daniels and Daniels Construction Co. began clearing the Clingman Street lot in October.

Already, Scally explained, much of the exterior is complete and work is beginning on the interior.

"We've had little, if any, change orders," County Manager Lee Smith said of the $1.8 million project. "We're not done yet, but so far so good. I'll keep crossing my fingers."

When done, the 11,000-square-foot facility is expected to contain a meeting and education room, a puppy and small dog viewing area, two visiting rooms, 50 dog runs and three cat holding areas, a porch for loading and unloading and cleaning, a quarantine area, a grooming area, offices and the euthanasia and cremation rooms.

Moving into the new facility, Scally continued, is going to be a good, if complicated process -- one the shelter staff has already begun planning.

"It's going to be a big move," he said. "We're more than excited. We're very happy it's coming along well. It's a wonderful facility. We can't wait to move in."

But he added that he is concerned about the number of comments he has received about the facility's increase in space for unwanted dogs and cats.

"Just because we're building a new shelter, that's not an excuse for people to be irresponsible and not spay and neuter," Scally said. "That's the importance of the education end of this. That's what I've been pushing. The goal is to reduce the number of animals coming in."

And, helping with those adoptions and spay and neuter programs will be the Wayne County Humane Society, which also is helping to raise money for the facility.

So far, the organization has brought in $70,000 of the $150,000 it pledged in August, and its fundraisers are still under way, with information available on its Web site www.wchsfundraisers.org, or at 736-7387 or 738-7805. Another $350,000 also has been donated and pledged by other county residents.

"It's just the community and people coming forward. It's amazing in six years how we've come together on this," Smith said, with his own head still fresh from the buzz cut he received as part of one of the fundraising challenges during the society's recent telethon.

Also discussed Tuesday was the county Planning Board's recommendation to adopt height restrictions around the county's three airports -- Goldsboro-Wayne Municipal Airport, Mount Olive Airport and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

No decision was made, but all the commissioners seemed to be in favor of the idea.

Under the proposal, the new zoning ordinance would establish a maximum height requirement of 150 feet tapering up to 400 feet within a three-mile radius of the Goldsboro-Wayne and Mount Olive airports. Any more restrictive zoning would be left in place.

Around the base, which already is surrounded by much more restrictive zoning, a 500-foot, eight-mile zone would be established.

Now, the commissioners all agreed, the key will be to get the municipalities to buy into the plan and cooperate with the restrictions.

"There's got to be some agreement as they change their lines," Smith said.

It's important, Commissioner Andy Anderson added, not only to protect the base, but also the municipal airports.

"Airports are getting to be a gold mine. We've got a good one and we need to protect it," he said.

And finally, the commissioners heard from a group of concerned residents about the Jordan's Chapel convenience center, which is slated to be closed at some point in the future once the Grantham site is expanded so that it can accept almost everything the landfill itself can.

"Before we got our dump, the woods were the dumping ground and the roads were full of trash," Mary Lois Bryan of Mount Olive said.

She asked the board to keep the site open, in large part because of its convenience for many senior citizens living in the area.

"We'd appreciate that more than you can imagine," she said, asking, though, that if the site is closed, that they be given plenty of notification.

"We're trying to make the regional site (at Grantham) where you have everything," Smith replied. "We do not have a closing date. We're just taking it a month at the time."