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After years of debate, ground is broken on new Animal Services facility in Florence

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FLORENCE, Ala. – There are many people in Lauderdale County who never thought they would see this day come. Wednesday morning ground was broken on a new Animal Services facility for Florence and the county.

By the dump truck load, dirt is being brought in to prepare the site for construction.

Florence and county leaders picked a site on Roberson Road in the industrial park to build an Animal Services building. It has taken at least four years to get to this point.

Debby Nelson

“This has been a dream we have had for a long time. Just that it is actually going to happen, well it brings tears to my eyes,” stated shelter volunteer Debby Nelson. “Because we have waited so long for it.”

Earlier this year, city administrators asked architects to redesign the facility, abandoning previous drawings. A committee wanted the facility to be more functional giving them room to expand if needed.

Three times the size of the current facility, Animal Shelter Director Leah Fox said more animals will be able to be taken care of.

Leah Fox

“At our new facility, we will be able to house easily 250-300 animals. Of course, that is not our goal; our goal is to house them in a way that is healthy for each animal and to provide the best quality of care that we can during their time at the shelter.”

Mayor Steve Holt said the building could be ready by this time next year.

The Lauderdale County Commission purchased the land while the city of Florence will pay for the majority of the building through a 2013 capital improvements bond issue. The estimated cost of the project is right at $3-million.