March 19, 2013

Dalton council approves deal for new Humane Society shelter

Charles Oliver
charlesoliver@daltoncitizen.com

— Each year, the Humane Society of Northwest Georgia places hundreds of rescued cats and dogs in new homes. But officials say they could do so much more if only they had more room.

They may get that opportunity.

On Monday, the Dalton City Council approved a plan that could allow the Humane Society to move to new headquarters, a shelter it would build on Veterans Drive, from its current location on Cleveland Highway. Council members voted 4-0 to lease 9.3 acres at the intersection of Hale Bowen Drive and Veterans Drive to the Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority (JDA) for 40 years for $1 a year. The JDA would, in turn, lease the property to the Humane Society.

“We can’t legally do this directly with the Humane Society, so we are working with the JDA to do this,” said Mayor David Pennington.

The lease is contingent on the Humane Society building a new shelter on the site.

“If they don’t build the shelter, they don’t get the land. But they needed this agreement so they could begin fundraising,” Pennington said.

Humane Society members have said a new shelter could allow them to expand the services they offer and expand the hours they are open. Humane Society President Micky Burrows said now that the lease agreement with the city and the JDA is in place the society will begin working with an architect on the design for the shelter. He said they could begin a fundraising campaign in six months.

Council members also voted 4-0 to:

• Approve a $52,357 change order to add a second trailhead to the Mount Rachel trails project. City Administrator Ty Ross said some additional federal community development block grant (CDBG) funds became available and the money had to be used on a project that was already designated for CDBG funding, such as the trails.

• Certify an application by the Dalton-Whitfield Community Development Corp. for $82,000 in grants from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to help shelter the homeless.