A new Fort Defiance Humane Society animal shelter could cost as much as $3.9 million, according to a facilities study recently undertaken by the organization, but officials also are discussing what may be a less expensive option for expansion — renovating an existing building.
Society officials reviewed information from the study with Defiance County commissioners — owners of the Justin F. Coressel Animal Shelter that the humane society operates on Ohio 15 northwest of Defiance — during the latter’s regular meeting Monday morning.
Humane society board president Rick Edmonds told commissioners that the new facility mentioned in the study has an estimated cost of $3.3-3.9 million. But this figure — which would not include a potential property purchase — may be cost-prohibitive, he indicated. (The study was conducted by Shelter Planners of America, Arlington, Texas, through a donation to the humane society.)
“Quite frankly — and I’m just speaking for me — I see that as being pretty difficult to raise in this county,” said Edmonds.
“It’s a lot of money,” agreed Com-missioner Ryan Mack.
“It is, and we realize that,” responded Edmonds. “We’re not trying to negate that at all.”
Therefore, Edmonds asked commissioners if the humane society could buy the building at a “fair-market” price, and if not, whether it would be possible for an expansion at the location.
“And if that is a possibility, what is the possibility that your office might even be able to commit some funds to be able to help us out?” asked Edmonds.
All three commissioners were non-committal about a possible expansion project, but agreed to consider any proposals. Mack was not in favor of selling the property, but expressed concern about the details as commissioners will maintain the facilities — as they do now.
“If you were going to add something on we’d have to see what you had in mind,” he said. “I can’t give a blanket yes or no either way, but I’d have to see what the goal was, where you were planning on moving stuff. Obviously the property is only so big ... . I’d have to see what you guys were thinking as far as where you want to put stuff.”
“We’ve heard the rumors of different sites that were being investigated, but this is the first time that I’ve heard anything about adding on,” noted Commissioner Mick Pocratsky. “So, it would take me some time to see some plans and to think whether this is a good idea for us or whether it’s not. I certainly can’t make an answer on that today.”
Animal shelter director Lisa Weaner also mentioned the possibility of using a barn on the shelter property for expansion.
While leaving open the possibility of the expansion, Pocratsky said the barn renovation could be “complicated.”
Meanwhile, humane society board member Gary Dowler said the present shelter — located adjacent to the barn — doesn’t lend itself “to any kind of addition or expansion. I know I’m not headed that direction. I don’t think any of us are. Our primary focus is, perhaps, we can do something with the barn.”
Weaner said the facilities study “was the first step because we kind of all know it’s been crowded. It’s been at capacity.”
She added that the first step “was really getting this study to validate ... that we feel like we need more space, and what’s the best direction for our future and for the future of the community.”
The humane society’s governing board plans to discuss the study at its next meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sept. 18 at ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
• received Engineer Warren Schlatter’s weekly update.
• met with Treasurer Vickie Myers for a monthly update.
• discussed flooding concerns about Maddock Ditch with county soil and water conservation district administrator Kevin Hancock and several citizens.