Spokane County commissioners are continuing to work on a regional animal shelter to replace the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service facility, despite voters’ rejection of a levy to pay for it in November.
Commissioners have singled out the former Harley-Davidson dealership, 6815 E. Trent Ave., as a potential site for a new shelter.
“The bottom line is, we still have a looming need,” said SCRAPS director Nancy Hill. “We’re in a 40-year-old building that doesn’t fit the program any more. There’s no room for expansion here.”
The shelter is at 2521 N. Flora Road, on the edge of the Spokane Valley Industrial Park.
“After the last election cycle we went back to the drawing board,” Commissioner Todd Mielke said. “We’ve got to do something.”
The shelter needs about 37,000 square feet in a mix of office space and animal kennels on about 4 acres of land, Mielke said. It needs to be near where Spokane and Spokane Valley adjoin each other and also needs to be on a bus line so volunteers can reach the shelter easily. “That’s a problem with our current site,” Mielke said.
Several possible locations have been researched and commissioners have signed a letter of intent to negotiate with the owner of the building that once housed a Harley-Davidson dealership. The asking price is $1.785 million, Mielke said; and commissioners anticipate needing $4.5 million to buy and renovate the building.
“The building is fairly new,” he said. “It was built with really good energy efficiency. We’ve looked at warehouses that have no heat and they’re just a shell.”
But finding a promising building is just the beginning. The economics of buying and renovating a site depend on a regional approach that has to include the city of Spokane.
“If we come together on the operations side I know we can save $380,000 a year,” he said. “That savings comes when we all do this together and we co-locate.”
Mielke said he will meet soon with Spokane and Spokane Valley city councils to make a proposal on how to fund the regional project. The cost would be kept separate from the animal control contract and each jurisdiction – Spokane, Spokane Valley and Spokane County – would be asked to pay a portion of the $4.5 million cost based on their animal control usage. That would have Spokane paying about 50 percent of the cost, Spokane County at 28 percent and Spokane Valley at 22 percent, Mielke said.
In turn each jurisdiction would get an ownership share of the building, he said. Mielke said he would be open to other funding ideas that the city councils may propose. His current proposal does not include any funding contributions from small towns that also contract with SCRAPS, including Liberty Lake and Airway Heights. Their usage percentages are “insignificant,” Mielke said.
Hill said she hopes something can be worked out by midyear. “We’re looking forward to a solution,” she said.