New Humane Society shelter, city pound to be built on same land
The city council will plan for a new animal shelter that will build two separate buildings on the same plot of land — one for the city pound, and one for the Mower County Humane Society.
The new structures would mean more than double the city shelter’s capacity. The Humane Society takes 80 percent of the animal shelter’s animals, said Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger.
He also cited the new buildings as being a relief for residents trying to discern which building handles which services.
“There’s always confusion to even get people to find the current animal shelter,” Krueger said. Having the two buildings share a parking lot would create a “one stop shop” experience for residents.
Separate buildings would also permit the Humane Society to continue being a “no-kill” facility, while the city will have to keep euthanasia as one of its options for stray animals.
The new buildings would occupy a plot of land at the end of Oakland Avenue E — east of Highway 218 and beside the Austin Municipal Airport — which the city still needs to purchase.
While city staff members and the council seemed to agree the joint buildings idea carried more pros than cons, it was the more expensive idea. Krueger said it would likely still fit within the $250,000 budget.
“We still believe it would be very close to or on budget,” he said.
During the regularly-scheduled council meeting and the work session after, council members also:
—chose to lower assessments for each property benefiting from the northeast sanitary sewer project from about $15,590 to $15,000 after objections on the assessments from about 50 affected property owners and a recent appraisal that gauged the benefit as being about $15,000.
—changed a city ordinance to allow properties in an “R-1 Single Family Resident District” to house two families.
—agreed to assist the Mower County Fair Board with services for the county fair in August in exchange for a variety of off-season services the city receives in return. For example, the city will provide fire protection for fair events, while the Fair Board will allow snow and street-cleaning dumping on fairgrounds.
—approved closing Ninth Place SW, on the stretch of the road that borders LaFayette Park for Relay for Life on Aug. 4 and 5.
—approved federal funding toward restoring the Roosevelt Bridge, a project conducted by Mower County. Work will include repairs to the stonework and the installation of a waterproofing system on the top of the arch.
—approved the placement of two new signs at the Mayo Clinic Health System – Austin: one to identify the facility and one to designate the main entrance.
—awarded a bid to All Weather Roofing to remove the existing roof at Riverside Arena and replace its shingles.
—approved three airport maintenance projects: taxiway pavement repairs, runway pavement repairs and new signs to direct traffic at the intersection of the taxiway and apron.
—allowed the Planning and Zoning Commission to contract for the removal of junk and illegally stored vehicles from two Austin properties: 1015 Eighth Ave. NE and 908 Sixth Ave. NW.
—approved a motion for a Mutual Aid Agreement with Freeborn County. The agreement would lay out any legal issues and a schedule for reimbursement in the event one party needed the help of the other’s emergency services. Austin Fire Chief Mickey Healey said reimbursement would take place if the services extended more than five hours.