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Johnson City mayor to detail animal shelter plans at City Commission meeting

Jennifer Sprouse • Sep 5, 2013 at 9:38 PM

After nailing down a location for the new Washington County-Johnson City Animal Shelter Tuesday, as well as a building design, Johnson City Mayor Ralph Van Brocklin will give a presentation at Thursday’s City Commission meeting, describing the progress and plans for the shelter.

On Wednesday, Van Brocklin said that instead of giving the public brief updates on the shelter’s progress, he plans to delve a little deeper into the issue and will discuss estimated budget costs, as well as donors gifts.

On Tuesday night, the Animal Control Board voted to use land at 3411 N. Roan St. as the location for the shelter.

“It’s my intention to give the public a little bit better idea of just what exactly is planned,” he said. “We’ll walk through what the budget is. I intend to walk through what donations have come in to this point, not naming who the individuals are, with the exception of the one major gift. At the end (of the presentation), I want to indicate who that major donor is.”

That major donor’s gift was said to be $100,000.

Van Brocklin said he’ll discuss the design and basic layout of the building, which was also decided on at Tuesday’s meeting.

“We felt that a more open-ceiling approach, which would be about two-stories high in the kennel area would allow better air circulation, allows to keep the temperatures more comfortable in there (and) allows to keep the humidity down in there,” he said. “The shelter director feels that the better air circulation will be very useful in controlling any type of ... spread of viruses or anything else amongst the animals as well. The decision was made to put air-conditioning in as an (additional) alternate in the bid process and as long as there’s enough money generated by the fundraising group ... air-conditioning will get put in.”

Radiant heat will also be used in the kennel area to keep the animals comfortable, as well as a way to keep utility costs down.

Van Brocklin said he will discuss the need for incremental funds raised through donations for phase two of the shelter, which he said will help pay for added things for the shelter, such as a possible spay and neuter clinic and expanded education rooms.

He said with the new space they will also work to increase the length of stay of dogs in the kennels from 7 to 14 days, and the length of stay for cats from 5 to 14 days.

“The consultants that we worked with as we were going through the early phases of this felt that if we could get it up to 14 days, that was pretty much ... optimal as far as getting animals adopted,” Van Brocklin said.

After the presentation, he said he will open the floor to the other commissioners for input, questions and concerns about the new shelter, a building to which they have committed $1.5 million.

“It’s important for them to have the opportunity to weigh in on anything that they think we’re missing, anything that they think we need to change or any just general suggestion about things,” he said.

An animal shelter brochure, showing what the new building is supposed to look like, a general floor plan, as well as possibilities for phase two expansion and the need for private donations, is also in the works, according to Van Brocklin.

Also on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting, Van Brocklin said the commission will consider strengthening the city’s noise ordinance.

“One of the things that I indicated as one of my top priorities ... the evening that I took over as mayor, was to strengthen the noise ordinances,” he said. “We have a lot of problems with noise for the Tanglewood neighborhood from the Electric Cowboy and we have been dealing with that for a number of years.”

He said while the ordinance will be citywide, they “hope that this particular ordinance will address the problems that that neighborhood has dealt with for years, with not being able to sleep and not being able ... to even have their windows open on a summer evening because of the noise.”

The City Commission will meet Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Municipal and Safety building, 601 E. Main St.

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