County officials held an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony Monday, December 5, 2016, for the new Smith County Animal Control facility in downtown Tyler.
The media and more than 100 community members toured the facility and attended the ribbon cutting conducted by the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce. Rev. Orenthia Mason led the invocation, and Commissioner JoAnn Hampton made the remarks before the ribbon was cut by the Commissioners Court and Animal Control officials.
“We appreciate the patience and efforts of all involved in this project and hope that this endeavor will help the county and its citizens produce a healthy environment for dogs needing adoption,” Commissioner Hampton said.
Commissioner Hampton thanked former Smith County Judge Joel Baker, who had the vision for the project. She also thanked Keith Marlowe, construction supervisor for Smith County, and all of the Facility Services staff who spent countless hours on this renovation. She also recognized Mike Zedlitz and his team at Jacobe Brothers Construction, and all other contractors who worked on the building.
The facility was selected for the county’s new animal shelter because downtown Tyler is centrally located within Smith County. The new facility will have room for up to 169 dogs.
Since the county began working about two years ago to renovate the former laundry building at 322 East Ferguson into the animal shelter, $998,354 has been spent. About 8,792 square feet of the 10,000-square-foot Crescent laundry building has undergone major renovations, including a new exterior, roof, windows, plumbing and HVAC system. Some of the historic elements of the building were left to keep its downtown feel. The total cost also includes the newly purchased kennels.
Smith County was able to save money on the project by doing much of the renovations in-house, as well as having county employees assemble and install the kennels.
The Animal Shelter property was purchased, along with three other buildings, by Smith County on July 31, 2008. The building was part of the former Crescent Laundry properties, which now also houses Facility Services, the office of Constable Precinct 1, the Elections Administration Office and the R.B. Hubbard Center, “The Hub.” The county bought the properties for a total of $455,421.
In 2008, Smith County Commissioners Court adopted the PAYGO plan for improving facilities, allowing the county to make improvements by paying for them, one-at-a-time, in cash.
The 10,000-square-foot animal shelter is the last of the four historic Crescent buildings to be rehabilitated by the county. About 8,800 square feet has been renovated already and the remainder will be done in Phase 2, scheduled to be done in Fiscal Year 2017.
The former animal shelter, in Winona, is about 2,500 square feet and has space for up to 40 dogs.
Smith County Animal Control, overseen by the Fire Marshal’s Office, plans to move the dogs to the new facility and open it up to the public this week. The public will be able to come to the downtown facility from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to adopt dogs. Special adoption events will also be held. There is no cost to adopt a dog from Smith County, but those adopting dogs are responsible for getting their new pets spayed or neutered.
For more information, visit www.smith-county.com or visit Smith County’s Facebook page.