GENESEO — The Henry County Humane Society now owns the property on which it hopes to build a new animal shelter, after buying five acres of land from the city of Geneseo for $38,400.|
The group hopes to begin construction this spring, and a final design for the approximately 5,000-square-foot building is nearly complete, humane society president Karen Russell said.
Geneseo residents John and Carla Edwards have pledged to donate the foundation and steel shell for the new building, Mrs. Russell said, but the Humane Society hopes to raise an additional $250,000 to complete the interior of the shelter and install mechanical utilities. Donations can be sent to the Henry County Humane Society — Geneseo, Post Office Box 145, Geneseo, IL 61254.
"This has been a dream for so long that it's hard to believe we are getting close," she said. "The Geneseo Telephone Co. started raising money for the humane society for a new building about six years ago, but it was put on hold because of the poor economy."
The shelter currently is in a more than 50-year-old building owned by the city on Roos Hill Road, she said.
The humane society wanted to buy 2.6 acres of land just south of that building for the new shelter, but zoning regulations require that an animal shelter be designated "agriculture," and that designation requires five acres of land.
That's when city-owned land east of the current animal shelter was proposed as the site for the new shelter. The humane society will leave the dog park and park shelter currently on that land open.
Humane society board members toured several area animal shelters to compile ideas for the new building, which will have 12 to 15 dog runs, office space, storage and laundry facilities and in-floor heating.
It also will have a zone-based air circulation and filtration system, which will be healthier for the animals, and an isolation room for sick animals, Mrs. Russell said. "We hope to be able to pull out sick animals so they don't infect the rest."