Hospital Hill picked for new
by Jazz Clark
As part of a grant application for a new animal control facility, the Morgan County Commissioners chose county-owned property behind the old hospital as the animal control location.
The commissioners decided that if a Petco Foundation grant comes through, the
new facility will be located by a storage building on the gravel parking lot behind the old hospital, near Davis Road.
”I don’t believe it would hinder access to the nearby hospital building, nor do I think it would influence residential areas,” Commissioner Brad Close said.
Close cited savings on excavating costs, since the site is already flattened.
He said three issues affected his choice in location proposals.
“First, travel cost to our officers, ways to cut down on fuel. Secondly, residential side, as we don’t want to be in the middle of a residential area. Thirdly, water and sewer; I think it would save us money on the front end if town water and sewer were available,” Close said.
Alternate proposals were received as options, but scrapped for several reasons.
One spot was located between the Widmyer Elementary Track and the Rescue Squad building, but was located on school board property, which brought up issues of ownership.
The building would need to be built south of the floodplain and the outdoor classroom. The land would also need extensive excavating.
The other possibility was on U.S. 522 adjacent to the ballfields, south of town. While large enough to accommodate the building and also owned by the county, the hospital property proved less obtrusive.
The facility itself is being planned on a 1800-foot concrete slab foundation, an indoor/outdoor kennel with outdoor runs and adequate space for dogs. Berkeley Land Services has committed to surveying the land for a flat fee of $2,000.
All this is completely dependant on the grant, however.
“It’s important to consider that this is a grant application to a foundation, and like government grants there’s only so much money in the pot,” said Carol York, the county’s Grant Administrator. “It’s always a long shot, and we don’t have an established relationship with the Petco Foundation or the Petco retail corporation. But it’s worth trying.”
An estimate based on York’s research and outside factors was around $300,000 for the building alone. Factoring in permits, management, utility costs, parking area and property fees, the total cost would be closer to $341,494.
“I know there’s a lot of discussion that it could be built for less, or for more, but that’s a realistic figure,” York said.
A more exact cost would depend on whether prevailing wage needs to be paid during construction.
Current Facility Opinions
Some citizens at the May 17 commission meeting wanted a new facility immediately, feeling the current Rt. 9 dog pound is inhumane.
Veterinarian Jane Doyle said that the county is expanding and everything is growing. She wondered why animal control isn’t adapting to the needs of the community. She cited major ventilation problems and a lack of safe access for proper cleaning at the present facility.
“I’m proud of every service in this community in this town except for animal control,” said Joe Mogus. “You shouldn’t have to wear boots to visit a public facility.”