Council whittles through shelter issuesAfter much analysis and discussion, the new animal shelter planned for the city of Superior could get a thorough review by the City Council. After all, there are a lot of issues to consider — from location and size to who will be served by the shelter.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
After much analysis and discussion, the new animal shelter planned for the city of Superior could get a thorough review by the City Council.
After all, there are a lot of issues to consider — from location and size to who will be served by the shelter.
“We’ve bounced around a lot on where to put this shelter,” said Mayor Bruce Hagen, who presented the council four-page letter laying out the issues to be addressed and recommending a course of action.
Hagen is planning to call a special session of the council’s committee of the whole to address the issues that remain unresolved so the city can move forward with construction in 2013.
“Like you, we are anxious to move forward with this particular project,” Hagen said. “Many of you have been involved in this much longer than me.”
Among the issues the council will be asked to consider is a new location at Bear Creek Park in the Itasca neighborhood.
“I couldn’t be more opposed to the site,” said Councilor Tom Bridge during a meeting last week. He said during his last campaign for office, the issue of city entrances was brought up, and the park makes for an attractive entrance to the city in his district. After spending more than 10 years fighting for Superior’s second largest natural area, Wisconsin Point, he said it doesn’t make sense to put a building there.
“I don’t think putting a building on that corner is going to do anything to improve the aesthetics,” he said. “ … It couldn’t be less centrally located. For everybody that lives anywhere but East End, Itasca and Allouez, it’s an inconvenience.”
However, Councilor Mick MacKenzie, who has worked ardently on the project for four years, said it is a good site and he wasn’t convinced that being centrally located is essential.
“I think this is an ideal spot,” MacKenzie said. “I think it’s going to have a big impact, especially when it comes to the capital campaign.”
He said people want to know where the shelter is going to be located and who is going to be involved.
Jean Kioski of the Douglas County Humane Society, which was originally planning to merge with the city shelter, advised the council last week the organization would benefit from a “large amount of money” from two different estates that they could give a substantial amount to be included in the new shelter.
“Singling out the county animals from the new shelter, I believe, is just further dividing the county from the city, and working together on future projects,” Kioski said. She said it doesn’t make sense to continue operating two separate shelters and buildings that have all the same expenses when a combined effort would better serve the community.
However, it’s a combined effort that could burden city taxpayers, something Hagen said he couldn’t support. In the letter to the council, Hagen noted that while the county agreed to give the city $20,000 annually — a move that doesn’t have board approval — it’s the only additional funding the city would receive, leaving city taxpayers bearing the burden for operating the shelter.
The city currently spends $120,000 annually to operate its 2,800 square foot shelter, which serves about 900 animals. The Douglas County Humane Society serves about 300 animals a year.
The council has approved building a 6,300 square foot facility, which would have to increase to about 8,500 to serve all animals in Douglas County, adding $632,500 to the construction cost alone.
Hagen said he could not support leveraging city taxpayers for the additional cost of serving the entire county’s animal population.