West Richland considering 3 sites for new animal shelter

By Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City HeraldMay 6, 2014 

West Richland is considering three sites for a new animal shelter.

The city council met during a Tuesday workshop to discuss nine potential locations for the new facility.

After an hourlong discussion, the council narrowed the list to three sites based on criteria developed by citizens who attended a March town hall meeting.

The current shelter has open sides and isn't heated or air conditioned. It's also on private property and not accessible to the public.

One proposed site is 21/2 acres owned by the city near Flat Top Park.

Police Chief Brian McElroy said this area met some of the top criteria West Richland residents want: easy access, yet not in a heavily populated residential neighborhood.

"No one wants to have a lot of barking dogs as neighbors." said Councilman Richard Bloom.

McElroy said the city has nine dog pens, and in the past year they've only been full a couple of times.

"So we're not talking a lot of dogs," he said.

Another site being considered is 20 city-owned acres at Keene Road and Belmont Boulevard. McElroy estimated that about a half acre would be necessary for the shelter.

A third option would be to relocate the existing city maintenance facility on Van Giesen Street -- which the council is already considering doing -- and remodeling the building to use as a shelter.

The council plans to look more closely at each site and consider the costs involved before making a decision. Two of the sites would need to have water, sewer and other utilities extended and one of the two proposed sites is on a slope, adding to construction costs.

The maintenance facility sits on an acre, but the building needs to be inspected to see if it can be converted into an animal shelter.

The council will consult with the city staff to get more input before making a decision at a future meeting.

-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com

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