A $2 million donation to build a new animal shelter was accepted Monday night by the Clovis City Council, which will require the city to redesign Letterman Park to provide space for the new $4.1 million shelter.
The donation by David McDonald, former chief executive officer of Pelco, allows the city to begin work on its new pet adoption center that will be named to memorialize his West Highland terrier, Miss Winkles, early next year.
The city will finance the remaining $2 million, but will be repaid $1.1 million that the nonprofit agency funding the animal shelter will need to raise in donations.
A dog park and new playground areas are planned, along with a new water well site in the redesigned Villa Avenue park. The city also will add parking areas for the new adoption center and the skate park.
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Planning director Dwight Kroll said the new shelter and other changes will help revitalize the park.
Friends of the Clovis Pet Adoption Center, the nonprofit agency overseeing construction of the new animal shelter, continues to seek donations for the project. In-kind donations from contractors can be made to help build it, said Kathy Millison, Clovis city manager.
City officials said they received several inquiries Monday from potential donors.
Although the pet adoption center will bear his late dog's name, McDonald told the City Council that work has only begun and he hopes his donation spurs an aggressive fundraising effort.
Naming rights are available for several other parts of the shelter, including its conference room, medical building, cat adoption area and training gallery.
"This is not the end," McDonald said. "This gets us off the ground."
In other action, the council approved a plan by the 500 Club to expand and move the card room from its Clovis Avenue and Fifth Street location to a shopping center at Shaw and Willow avenues.
The owner plans to expand the card room from six to 18 tables and add a restaurant. The 500 Club's present site will continue as a restaurant. The proposal will return to the council for approval in several months.
The vote was 4-1; Council Member Bob Whalen said he opposes the expansion and move because it could bring crime and force gamblers into bankruptcy.
Council Member Lynne Ashbeck said the expanded card room will not create more gamblers but give gamblers who have gone elsewhere another place to play.
A company with card room expertise could become a partner in the 500 Club later.