Ad-hoc committee sees final numbers for temporary animal shelter in city

Stephen Ford makes a comment during the ad-hoc committee meeting last week.

An ad-hoc committee studying where to put a temporary animal shelter met last week before submitting its findings to the Huntsville City Council, which was to address the issue at its meeting on Monday.

The committee narrowed its list of potential sites for a shelter to four city-owned properties. Last Wednesday the group looked at maps of the four sites and what it would cost to put a shelter at each location.

The sites looked at were narrowed to a building at the former wastewater plant on Highway 23, a building owned by the water department on Governor’s Hill, land purchased for a future industrial park off of Amanda Place, and a city-owned property on Cherry Lane just north of Dogwood Street.

Two people who live on Governor’s Hill previously gave to the committee a petition with 19 signatures opposing the Governor’s Hill site.

City Clerk Janice Smith said last week that there also had been some opposition expressed about the Cherry Street property.

The ad-hoc committee was formed last month when the city council tabled the issue of where to build the temporary shelter.

City councilor Stephen Ford chaired the committee. Joining Ford last week were councilor Pat Grubbs, Smith, Planning Director Jennifer Thomas, and Sean Davis with the water department.

According to the committee, constructing new buildings on Cherry Street and at the industrial park would cost about $15,000 each. Water is available at the Cherry Street site, but would have to be installed at the proposed industrial park.

Ford said the city would be responsible for funding a new water line, while building at the industrial park could come from an industrial park fund. The Cherry Street site already has a 7-foot high fence around the three-acre site and a gate.

Smith said existing industrial park funds could be depleted when a road is constructed onto the property, leaving no money for the animal shelter there.

Building a lean-to onto the existing building on Governor’s Hill would cost about $6,500. Electricity and water are at the site. Renovating an existing building along Highway 23 – at the former wastewater plant – would cost about $8,000. Water would have to be piped under a creek into the building, which could cost $3,500 or more.

Ford said building at the industrial park site would leave a small footprint, with plenty of space for future development.

Huntsville has a policy where dogs would be kept a minimum of 72 hours at the kennels, during which an owner would be sought. After that, the animal would be taken to either Paws & Claws Animal Shelter or a state-approved facility in Carroll County that has shown interest in taking dogs from Madison County.

The city sends seven or eight dogs a month to Paws & Claws, and pays the shelter $180 for each animal.

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