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Shelter donor removes match, commits full $500,000

A $500,000 pledge toward construction of a new Animal Control Center that initially included a 50 percent match and two other conditions will now be a cash gift in the full amount.
“The major donor has agreed to change the gift’s stipulations from contingent to no strings,” Johnson City Mayor Ralph Van Brocklin said last week.
The original conditions shared by Van Brocklin during the May 5 meeting of the Animal Control Board were a $250,000 cash gift that must be met with an equal amount of new pledges; the length of stay before animals are considered for euthanasia must increase from 10 to 14 days; and the plan for the new shelter must include a formal adoption space.
While Van Brocklin, chair of the Fundraising Committee, said $60,000 in new pledges was already in-hand, ACB members expressed concern about being able to raise the $190,000 needed to claim the match.
In addition, board member David Tomita objected to the decision to expand the building by 3,000 feet without knowing the ongoing operational costs, and board members have yet to approve a final floor plan.
Follow-up conversations with the donor and his wife, who prefer their names not be made public yet, led to the adjustments in the commitment.
“We are putting an escrow in place to ensure the project is moving forward, and the couple’s money is not being spent without the project being built,” Van Brocklin said.
A ceremonial ground-breaking has been scheduled for Thursday, June 5, at 10:30 a.m. on the North Roan Street site purchased for the new facility.
“We’ve been talking about a ground-breaking for a fair period of time,” Van Brocklin said. “The decision was based on the architect’s plans being fleshed out for the building and having a contract in place by the builder.”
A formal contract will be reviewed by ACB members during their meeting on Tuesday, June 3, two days before the event.
“There was no reason to anticipate the contract would not be signed so we went ahead and scheduled the ground-breaking,” he said. “Now is the appropriate time, and we have the financing.”
According to Van Brocklin, architect Tom Weems would like to officially begin work on the site by the first of July.
“We sincerely appreciate those who’ve stepped forward to provide the private support needed to achieve our two main goals of reducing the euthanasia rate and the needless killing of animals, while offering them a more comfortable facility while they’re with us,” Van Brocklin said.