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One small step for animal control

Tomorrow marks the beginning of another year without an animal control facility in Harrison County.
But the project has edged forward ‘ a tiny step forward.
Monday night, the Harrison County Board of Commissioners deeded 1.386 acres of county-owned land in the Harrison County Industrial Park (which includes a large building the commissioners found unsuitable for use as an animal control shelter) to its neighbor, James L. Shireman Inc.
In return, Shireman was to deed to the county land needed for road access and sewer service.
That means Harrison County can now develop the Industrial Park site off Quarry Road for animal control or for any other purpose the commissioners’ deem suitable, said commission chair J.R. Eckart.
This debate has dragged on since the late 1970s, at varying levels. The need was established a few years ago by a task force appointed by officials to study the issue. Based on its findings, the Harrison County Board of Commissioners started planning. In May 2002, the Harrison County Council, which controls the county’s purse strings, essentially said OK, there’s a need, but not a need as expensive as the commissioners propose.
The commissioners countered that the $513,000 ‘turn-key’ operation was designed to take care of all the needs for many years at the most efficient operating cost possible. However, the council approved $300,000 (which was recommended by the task force) and hasn’t budged from that price. The commissioners in July decided to proceed with the original plan.
‘I’m personally tired of putting this off and putting this off in hopes somebody’s going to come in here with a plan nobody’s come up with yet (for a suitable, $300,000 turn-key operation),’ said Eckart, who was commission chair at the time.
In October, the commissioners asked project architects Michell Timperman Ritz to prepare bid documents for a facility at the Industrial Park site and another site behind the Harrison County Justice Center on Gardner Lane. Architect Angie Kleer was asked to include alternate bids for both sites in the bid specifications.
Commissioner James Goldman said he talked with Kleer Monday afternoon and was told work is underway on the bid documents.
‘She expects to be done in 30 to 45 days,’ said Goldman. ‘At that time, we will be ready to bid the project.’
Commissioner Jim Heitkemper questioned why it’s taking so long to prepare bid specifications.
‘This has been a long-term project, and they’ve had lots of work already,’ Goldman said.
Goldman said the current $300,000 appropriation expires at the end of the year, but the money is still in the bank. ‘The council will have one more opportunity to approve the funding,’ Goldman said.