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Hardin County is moving ahead with the construction of a new dog shelter with the assistance of a private investor.
Tom and Alice Roof will lease a section of land from the county located north of the current facility off Jones Road in Kenton and pay for building of the 2,400-square-foot structure. Once the project is completed, a process expected to take about four months, the Roof will sell the building back to the county at his cost.
The commissioners have studied ways to finance the construction of a new dog shelter for more than four years, but recent bids to build the facility were near $350,000, which was more than the county was willing to invest.
The existing buildings were in need of work, said Commissioner Ron Wyss.
“We looked at the buildings and didn’t want to put any more money into them,” he said.
As a private investor, said Roof, he can have the work done cheaper than the county. He would avoid paying prevailing wages and other legal restrictions put on the commissioners if they were building the shelter.
“Alice and I believe there is a definite need for a dog pound,” Roof said. “It will benefit the community and we want to help with that need.”
Roof is financing $260,000 for the project.
Alice Roof, along with Becky Potts and Dog Warden Tammy Ervin, have collected money for the project which has reached $38,000. The county has set aside a portion of the dog tag sales revenue for the project in recent years and has $100,000 available now to pay toward the construction costs. The balance of $160,000 will be advanced to the dog warden and paid back over 10 years, said Commissioner Brice Beaman.
“We have looked at the cash flow (from the dog warden) and we see her being able to pay $20,000 per year toward the advance and still be able to operate comfortably,” said Beaman.
The new building’s entrance will face south toward the old shelter, which will be resided to match the new facility and used for storage. The new building will feature heated floors, said Wyss, which are no more expensive than traditional heating systems. The heated floors will keep the animals warmer and drier than an air system, he noted.
Under the floors, he continued, is a rounded drainage system which slopes to the city sewer system for easier cleaning. A room will be available to families to “meet” the dog they might be interested in adopting, he continued. The isolated room will provide a private area for the dog and people to respond to each other, said Wyss.
A quarantine area with a separate ventilation system is located where the dogs are to be received. The room will be used to clean the dogs and in the future could be a place for local euthanasia procedures, said Wyss.
The 39 pens will be stainless steel and for a donation of $500, the donor’s name can be tagged on the pen. Those interested in the program can call Alice Roof at 567-574-8341 or Roof’s law office at 419-674-4032.
The goal of the fundraising remains $60,000, said Roof.
There is additional space, noted Wyss, for future expansion.
“This is built with the future in mind,” he said.
Ervin said the dog shelter currently has 29 pens and while the amount of housing has increased, the real advantage to the new building is having all of the new services, offices and animals under one roof.
“The quality of care will be much better,” said the dog warden.
The building will be one of the “greenest in Ohio” thanks to Wyss’ input, said Roof.
“We can save the county $140,000 through us building the shelter,” said Roof.
While Prosecutor Brad Bailey said he didn’t see anything in the agreement which would be considered a “deal-breaker”, he wants to take a few day and review the plans with the state auditor’s office. He estimates the consultation will be completed within a week to 10 days and then the contract with Roof can be signed.
Don Doll, of Golden Giant, said his company will begin construction of the shelter within a week of the agreement being signed.
“Get the language to match what we want to accomplish,” Wyss told Bailey.
“The point is,” said Roof, “this will be done and it will save the county a bunch of money. Let’s sign the contract and dig. We’re all on board with this.”
By DAN ROBINSON
Times staff writer