The Franklin County Humane Society celebrated an important milestone Thursday as a lease for a future animal shelter near Capitol View Park was approved by Franklin County magistrates.
According to Humane Society Board president Sam Marcus, the lease has a 50-year term with an additional 5-year renewal option. The Franklin County Fiscal Court entered into a contract for the land with the state, and then in turn leased the lot to the humane society for $1 a year.
The agreement has been a long time coming, and Marcus said he is happy with the terms that were ultimately worked out.
The agreement was pulled from a meeting earlier in March so that some of the details of the contract could be revisited. Marcus said that the humane society was hesitant to agree to a standard state lease — in which the state owns any improvements made to the property and the land must be restored to its original state when the term expires — because of its non-profit status.
He said that Finance and Administration cabinet officials helped to rectify the issues so that the humane society can own any improvements they make during the term of the lease (ownership reverts to the state after the term expires). Additionally, the humane society will not be required to undo any changes they make to the property.
“Both sides get something there,” Marcus said. “Neither the county nor the humane society will need to spend the money to remove the facility, and the state probably gets probably a couple hundred thousand dollars of infrastructure.”
Marcus said the next steps in the humane society’s work for a new shelter are twofold. A design committee will produce a concept of what the shelter will look like and what functions it will be able to serve. Once the concept is completed and put to bid for design services, a capital committee will look at how much the project is expected to cost and begin fundraising projects to help gather the necessary finances.
Marcus said that humane society members have visited other shelters across the state and are attending conferences to discover what to realistically expect from the project.
He added that while the humane society has not set any hard deadlines yet, members hope to have the shelter completed within a three to five year period, depending on how long fundraising efforts take.
Marcus said the humane society would not have reached this milestone without the help of several people, including Mike Nolan, former Franklin County representative on the humane society board, Charles Bush, formerly with the Finance and Administration Cabinet and current finance employees.
Marcus also thanked the current fiscal court as well as former judge-executive Ted Collins and former magistrates Jill Robinson and Larry Perkins.
“We really appreciate what they’ve done in helping us find a site,” Marcus said. “They took a leadership role in this.”