BOC Gives OK to Look for Animal Shelter Design

Ron Daniel / Staff WriterDouglas County Sentinel

Posted on January 21, 2014

For local animal lovers, getting a new shelter built to replace the current shelter built in the 1980s has been a dream that stretches over at least a decade. But now that money has been budgeted for design and a site has been selected, things are starting to move along pretty quickly.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 at their Tuesday meeting to move ahead with putting out a request for proposal for architectural design services for the new shelter, which will be built on a site at Deer Lick Park off Mack Road.

“I think probably everyone on this board and certainly the Douglas County community at large is very excited about this great step forward,” District 3 Commissioner Mike Mulcare said. “It’s a long-needed project and it’s going to be paid for without any tax implications, which I think is a great thing. It’s going to be in a very central location with adjacent facilities on already county-owned land. So it has many pluses working for it.”

County Administrator Eric Linton said what the BOC did by approving the RFP was “say, ‘hey, we’re ready to move forward with it.’”

“I would hope we could break ground by the third quarter of this year,” Linton said. “That would have the architecture work in place, the construction work in place and have the groundbreaking and of course the financing – to have all of that in place over the next six months.”

Linton said once construction starts, it shouldn’t take more than a year to complete, meaning a new shelter could be open for business by around the middle of 2015.

He said financing the estimated $2.5-$3 million cost of the shelter would be done as previously discussed through a low-interest loan known as a lease purchase agreement through the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG).

He said interest rates are “super low” and that the county would “set it up in a way where the payments are what we can afford with the current revenue coming in.”

The design work that Tuesday’s RFP solicits will be paid for with $250,000 in seed money included in the 2014 budget for that purpose.

Mulcare said that a new shelter will be self contained, meaning that the animals will “receive much better care and won’t be subject to mother nature.” At the current shelter, dogs often have to be kept outside year round, including during the summer and winter months when temperatures can hit extremes at both ends of the thermometer.

And Mulcare stressed as he has in the past that a modern shelter will also make life better for the staff working at the shelter.

District 2 Commissioner Kelly Robinson called Tuesday’s move toward hiring an design firm “important.” But he also asked the commissioners to think about the future of Deer Lick Park as a whole.

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