A resolution to fund the Boone County Animal Shelter was unanimously approved by the Boone County Fiscal Court Tuesday night, officially launching construction on the multi-million project.
The fiscal court approved a guaranteed maximum price of just under $8.3 million for the animal shelter, which will be built on property near England-Idlewild Park that was recently purchased from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) for $1.9 million.
Judge/Executive Gary Moore said it has been seven years of planning for this project, and Commissioner Charlie Kenner joked it has “felt like 40 in dog years.”
Moore said acquiring the 296 acres from CVG was “the final hurdle that we wanted to clear before we moved forward with putting this facility on land that we didn’t own.”
What started in 2015 and was finally approved with funding on Tuesday night is “the result of a protracted, thoughtful, and very deliberate process,” Moore said.
Matthew Webster, assistant county administrator, and Animal Care and Control Director Colleen Bray were instrumental in the fundraising and planning process, Moore said. Webster said they raised $2.3 million in private funds and allocated another $6 million in the 2023 budget to make the project possible.
During budget discussions in May, members of the fiscal court reviewed computer renderings of the inside of the shelter. The design featured outdoor areas for dog kennels and separate areas for adoptions and drop-offs. During that May 12 meeting, the facility was designed as “very utilitarian,” designed to “meet the health needs of our animals but not be extravagant.”
Webster added during Tuesday night’s meeting that the construction manager hired for this project will look for cost savings opportunities to ensure an efficient design “that will not impact function or operation.”
Moore said the public can expect a groundbreaking in early September and “dirt moving” on the land this fall. Finally, he thanked Bray for her work and said Boone County can look forward to a premier facility for its animals.
“Colleen has just been amazing, Her experience, her ideas have led to what you’re going to see is an amazing facility for the future years of our county when it comes to animal care and control,” Moore said.