That was the message that was given to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen last week by PETWorks officials, who came before city leaders to give an update on the organization’s new animal shelter, the fundraising campaign and the plans for the future.
NEW ANIMAL SHELTER
PETWorks plans to build a 17,000-square-foot adoption center on a 3.5-acre site on East Stone Drive just east of Cleek Road between Clayton Homes and Kingsport Used Tires. The estimated cost of the project is $3.5 million.
The new facility will include room for 180 animals, isolation areas for dogs and cats, dedicated adoption spaces, an educational area for animal care and training, larger workspaces for employees and a 1.2-acre dog park on the rear of the property.
The name of the new facility will be “The Good Steward Adoption Center.”
PETWorks has already raised more than $2 million toward its $3.5 million goal, including a $680,000 commitment from the city of Kingsport and a $1 million lead grant from The James & Laura Rogers Foundation. Other significant grant commitments include the Kingsport Community Foundation (an affiliate of the East Tennessee Foundation), and the Randy Boyd Foundation.
“There are other major contributions that we hope to announce in the next month,” Russ Adkins, vice president of PETWorks, told the BMA last week, noting the organization is planning to break ground on the new facility in July.
“We hope at that time we’ll be ready to start the public campaign ... hoping there will only be $1 million left (to raise),” Adkins said.
A grand opening for the new facility could be in the spring of 2020.
The euthanasia rate in the region is one of the worst in the state of Tennessee, and reducing that percentage has been center stage on the minds of PETWorks officials. Tom Parham, president of the organization, said the Kingsport shelter has been able to maintain its no-kill goal for adoptable animals for the past 15 months.
When the new facility opens, PETWorks officials are hoping to maintain that no-kill goal in the future.
However, there are still challenges for the current facility, Parham said.
PETWorks cannot afford to hire an executive director and without one, fundraising is even more challenging, Parham said. The staff has been reduced to an inappropriately low level due to budgetary constraints, and this year’s budget is razor thin.
Parham said PETWorks has asked the state to come back in July and come up with a job study for the organization.