With all the players now in place, work can now begin in earnest for the opening of a new SCRAPS animal shelter on East Trent in 2014.
During a news conference on Monday at the facility – a former Harley-Davidson dealership at 6815 E. Trent – Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke said the plan is to have the building renovated and up and running by Jan. 1, 2014.
“Now the clock starts,” Mielke said after he and fellow commissioners approved interlocal agreements with the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley for a regional partnership where Spokane County Regional Animal Protect Service will provide animal control.
Mielke – who was joined by Spokane Mayor David Condon and Spokane Valley Tom Towey, among other local leaders and fellow commissioners – said that the partnership reflects what he believes was the message when voters denied a bond sale to fund a new shelter in 2011.
“They were not willing to raise taxes,” Mielke said, adding that Spokane County will be able to acquire the $1.7 million building without going to the voters. The total $4 million plan includes renovating the structure into a “one-stop shop” where county residents and those living in both municipalities will be able to find lost pets.
“The message? ‘We want you to do it within your existing resources,’” Mielke said.
Spokane Mayor David Condon said animal control was part of his “100-day plan” coming into office.
“I’m glad this is moved off the agenda,” he said. “It’s a great collaboration.”
Spokane will partner with SCRAPS for the first time in the city’s existence when the 2014 partnership becomes official.
Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey said the new regional model comes after years of obstacles and frustration. But he thanked Mielke for seeing it through.
“Todd has proven to be a true leader,” Towey said.
The Spokane Valley City Council renewed its contract with SCRAPS on Jan. 8.
The new facility – centrally located on a major arterial and bus line access – will replace an over 40-year-old structure on North Flora Road, which will continued to be used throughout 2013.
Nancy Hill, director of SCRAPS, expressed relief that the regional program will move forward.
“This really has been a career project,” she said.
Also included in the regional program are the cities of Liberty Lake, Millwood and Cheney.