Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Animal Shelter Gets Gift County to Donate $50,000 to Agency

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Animal Shelter Gets Gift County to Donate $50,000 to Agency

Article excerpt

Byline: R. Michael Anderson, County Line staff writer

The Safe Animal Shelter of Orange Park still doesn't have enough money to build a new facility on county-owned land off County Road 220, but it is $50,000 closer to its goal.

The Clay County Commission agreed Tuesday to donate the money to the shelter, matching a $50,000 offer by the Clay County Utility Authority for the current shelter building on Bartlett Avenue, north of Orange Park.

"We're pleased," said Pat Sullivan, president of the shelter's board of directors. "But we still need [building] fund donations."

The $100,000 commitment from the county and the utility authority, plus an $8,000 donation from the Orange Park Town Council, leaves the shelter's board of directors about $42,000 short of the estimated $150,000 needed to build a new shelter, Sullivan said.

The non-profit agency hopes to get a lot closer to its goal in a couple of months, after its major fund-raiser -- a dinner and auction -- at the Eagle Harbor Swim Park on Oct. 6. Last year's event raised about $35,000, Sullivan said.

The shelter, which currently is housed in a building on land leased from the utility authority, is being forced to move as a result of numerous complaints from residents in nearby Grove Park about barking dogs at the shelter.

The complaints also led to an investigation by code enforcement officials who determined that the shelter had been built in violation of zoning restrictions. Even though the county issued the building permit, the shelter was ordered to move.

Commissioners agreed to provide a site for a new shelter on vacant county-owned property on County Road 220 at Knight Boxx Road. The county will lease the property to the shelter for $1 a year.

However, commissioners had balked at providing any financial aid until Tuesday, when Commissioner Larry Lancaster made a strong pitch for the $50,000, which he said would be a justifiable expenditure of taxpayers money because the shelter "provides a public benefit to all of us. …

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