New Florence animal shelter at a standstill while city locates property

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – When the city council approved a capital projects list in 2013, a new animal shelter topped the list.

Two years later, there’s been no dirt moved and the current shelter is bursting at the seams.

Any visitor to the Florence-Lauderdale Animal Shelter can quickly identify there’s an overcrowding issue. Dogs are often doubled up in kennel’s both inside and outside the building.

Shelter director Vinnie Grosso said the city is making significant progress in moving forward with a new shelter.

“All the design work is done which takes a lot of time, the money has been put aside, the main thing right now is just finding that perfect piece of property,” Grosso explained.

City leaders ran into a roadblock at one property when it was discovered a road and sewer system expansion would cost almost $1 million. Grosso said it had been talked about decreasing the size of the proposed building to accommodate for the extra costs. But with 150 animals here now and another 150 in foster care, he says they need all the room the can get.

“I was personally against that,” Grosso explained. “I would rather build something now that going to last us the next 30 to 50 years, than to build something that 5 to 10 years from now we will be back in the same boat where we’re begging for an addition because we’re out of room again.”

Grosso said he would like to see a new shelter in place within the next year, and he doesn’t feel that goal is to far-fetched.

Just over $3 million in public funds and private donations has been set aside for a new Florence-Lauderdale Animal Shelter.

One proposal on the table is purchasing the recently sold Florence Country Club back from a Chinese investor to build on that property.

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