Animal shelter OK'd in West Richland

The West Richland City Council voted Tuesday to build a new animal shelter at Belmont Boulevard and Keene Road.

The 5-1 vote had Councilman Richard Bloom against. Councilman Robert Perkes was absent.

Mayor Brent Gerry said Bloom's vote is not a reflection on the project. "He loves animals. But it's his opinion, and I respect it, that it would be better to site the animal shelter at the current city maintenance facility, which was one of our other options," Gerry said.

The new shelter will be built on slightly less than one acre of city-owned land near where the city plans to build a new maintenance facility. The next step will be to hire an architect to access the city's needs for the shelter, what amenities will be necessary and to design the building.

"Then we'll be able to see what our costs will be and begin working on finding the money to pay for it," said Police Chief Brian McElroy.

Also Tuesday, the council voted to buy 47,475 square feet of land stretching along the Yakima River north of Van Giesen Street to Butte Court. Five council members voted to buy the land, with Mayor Pro Tem Rich Buel abstaining because he knows the people involved in the sale.

The land is owned by David and Raquel Volmer who have agreed to sell it to the city for $25,000.

The land will be used to provide West Richland residents access to the river for non-motorized water craft. There are also plans to develop a trail system on the property which would link with an existing system around the West Richland Golf Course.