The past several months have been spent working on acquiring a long-term lease on a Jackson County-owned piece of land. We have spent many hours meeting with County Commissioners and the County Manager.  It all began in March of 2011 when the shelter committee presented to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners and requested the county provide a long-term lease on a parcel of land that is suitable for an animal shelter. Unfortunately, the request was made at the same meeting as the former County Manager resigned. We left the ball in the county’s hands for months – 6 months to be exact. One Commissioner stepped up and asked the interim County Manager to get the ball rolling. Finally, we met with the interim manager and one Commissioner to look over the proposed master plan for the County’s land surrounding the Courthouse. Two sites were identified as possible locations for the shelter and we were sent to visit with the engineer who designed the master plan to discuss those two locations. After a few weeks, he indicated which of the two sites would be better suited to our needs. In our minds, the location was suitable. Everyone knew our capital campaign budget and what we wanted in the shelter.

 The next step was to meet with the Commissioners. We met with all but one and they all indicated they would vote in favor of our request. The only stipulation was that we waited until the new County Manager was in office. So, we waited…again. We were on Kevin’s agenda for his first week in Jackson County. Several meetings later, he felt we were ready to meet with the Commissioners again.

Our final meetings! We were ecstatic! The Commissioners generally agreed to our request and we were anticipating that we would be put back on the agenda for the next BOC meeting. In the meeting, it was mentioned that we might want to check with the City Manager about sewer and water at that property. A call was made to him that morning. He reviewed the property and determined that water was available on the property, BUT sewer was not and it would cost an estimated $500,000 to get sewer to the shelter.  $500,000! Our entire budget for the project is $750,000 to $1,000,000!

So, here we are…back at the beginning. This time we have put it in the County’s hands to identify a better location. Yes, we picked that spot, but we thought we had good information that the location would work and we were trying to get the ball rolling by choosing a parcel. We didn’t ask the county to let us choose a spot and approve it – We asked for them to identify and approve the location. So, it’s in their hands. I truly thought my next blog post would be to invite you all to a Board of Commissioner’s meeting for your support as they voted.

And rather than waiting patiently for the County, we are moving forward and actively pursuing land owners who may be willing to donate land that would be suitable for a shelter. Although we truly hoped to work with the county and help with the animal control problems, a private donation of land would be ideal. If you know of anyone who would be interested in a huge tax deduction and helping a great cause, please let me know.



Erin McRaven
04/22/2012 07:55

I am a local artist, and lifetime resident of Jackson County. It is amazing that it's 2012 and there is still no animal shelter in this county! I moved out to Elbert County to my own home a few years ago, and when we lost our home, I was forced to move back in with my parents here in Jackson County, an was stunned that there is still no animal shelter here. So, I guess, with the loss of my own home (and bringing 5 stray cats with us when we lost our home), I would like to speak with someone about organizing an Art Fund raiser. Please contact me, if you know of any other interested artists in the community that I could organize with. I'd love to have an "Art Sale" at your thrift store, with some donated works of my own, and any other interested artists, $100 of profits going to the project.


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