A plan to build a new animal shelter in Clovis has taken a turn -- about three miles to the east -- as Clovis City Council members voted Tuesday to consider a new site for the project.
The new animal shelter, which is expected to be under construction by next year, was originally planned for Letterman Park on Villa Avenue, between Barstow and Bullard avenues. But after a city inspection found the park may not be suitable for the 16,600 square-foot shelter, the city started looking for other locations.
City engineer Steve White told Clovis City Council members Tuesday night that poor soil compaction at Letterman Park would require removing old dirt and trucking in new dirt. That would push the city over its $4 million shelter budget.
The top alternative is at Sierra Meadows Park, east of Temperance and Sierra avenues. The site is near a basin owned by the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District and a smattering of rural homes.
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City officials said they will meet with property owners and neighbors around the new site and begin an environmental study.
The city evaluated two other locations: its old corporation yard on Lind Avenue, which city staff considered too remote, and a future park site at Locan Avenue and Highway 168, which staff concluded was not ready for development.
The Sierra Meadows Park is slowly being developed. The city used grant money to build a small park, add a parking lot and plant trees.
Sierra Meadows Park also is proposed as the future location for a nature education and animal rehabilitation center, which now operates from a home at Temperance and Sierra avenues.
Cathy Garner, director of Fresno Wildlife Rehabilitation, said she is concerned about the noise that could come from the shelter's dogs and how it affects birds that the organization rescues.
Mayor Harry Armstrong said he thinks the animal-rescue project and the shelter can complement each other.
The new shelter is expected to cost $4 million. David McDonald, the retired CEO of Pelco, donated $2 million. The city will name the shelter the Miss Winkles Pet Adoption Center in the memory of his West Highland terrier.