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Shelter groundbreaking: Van Brocklin says support still needed for new facility

Along with the ground-breaking ceremony held last week for the new Washington County-Johnson City Animal Control Center came the plea for additional support.
“The dollars available are right at the edge of sufficiency,” Johnson City Mayor Ralph Van Brocklin told the large number of people gathered under a tent on the North Roan Street site of the new facility. “We do not allow for educational space, a (spay/neuter) clinic, cat condos and additional items. Another $150,000-$200,000 would ensure the first phase is completed.”
In a long list of those he said brought the multi-year project to this point, he thanked the past chairs and members of the ACB, in addition to the city commission for its $1.85 million commitment and the $350,000 from the county commission.
Van Brocklin, who serves as chair of the Fundraising Committee, said the ACB also is within $20,000 of $1 million in private support. “A huge thank you also goes to the donors without whom this shelter would never have been built.”
While he pointed to major gifts of $100,000 from the Broyles family of Mountain Empire Oil, and the same amount from General Shale in materials, in addition to a recent $500,000 pledge from an anonymous couple, Van Brocklin encouraged those who have supported the project to consider making a second gift.
During the program he also introduced members of the Animal Control Center staff. “Now we will have a facility worthy of your dedicated service,” he said.
ACB Chair Pete Peterson emphasized the project is a dream that has been in place for more than a decade, and thanked those who have been involved for their perseverance and positive attitude. “With the help of all, we’re going to break ground today, and we hope to be in by mid- to late winter.”
Animal Control Center Director Debbie Dobbs said stubbornness should be added to the list of attributes that have brought a new facility to fruition. “This day is a dream come true for me,” she said. “We’re going to save lives.”
ACB members reviewed amendments to the construction contracts during a meeting held two days before the ground-breaking. Architect Tom Weems said the contract with J.A. Street now includes the 3,000-foot expansion and a guaranteed maximum price of $2,636,897.
“Street took the site as unclassified, which means any problems they run into, such as rock, it’s their problem to deal with and pay for,” Weems said, adding they are expecting the cost to come in at $2.25 million.
An amendment to the contract with Weems also was presented. While his fee of 5 percent did not change, the increase in the GMP required the approval of almost $39,000 in additional funds.
Weems is donating 10 percent of his fee, approximately $13,000, to the project.
Both amendments received unanimous approval from ACB members.