Animal shelter on city agenda

Published on Monday, 11 November 2013 23:18 - Written by DAYNA WORCHEL dworchel@tylerpaper.com

An animal shelter for the city of Tyler could be in the works if the city council gives its approval Wednesday.

The money for the shelter’s construction and design will come entirely from the city’s half-cent sales tax fund, but city officials are in negotiations to determine costs, city spokeswoman Sabrina Butcher said Monday. The costs should be settled by Wednesday’s meeting, she said.

The city is considering a contract with the Fort Worth-based Freese and Nichols for the shelter design.

“As part of the Lean Six Sigma Initiative, an analysis of current animal control operations was performed, and it was determined that an animal shelter was needed,” a council communication states.

The city has contracted with other entities in the past to shelter unwanted animals, Ms. Butcher said. The city of Tyler has a holding facility, which is operated by the North East Texas Municipal Health District. Animals are taken to a shelter in Jacksonville daily.

City officials do not yet know where the shelter will be built. “We have narrowed it down to a couple of locations, but we are not sure what will work yet,” Assistant City Manager Susan Guthrie said Monday. Ms. Guthrie said the city is in talks with other organizations to help with the shelter’s cost and operations, but said that nothing is “firm yet.”

In other news, council could also approve a master plan for the restoration of Bergfeld Park. The city’s Parks and Recreation board approved the plans at their meeting in October. Mark Spencer, of Tyler’s MHS Planning and Design, presented a proposed plan to include new playground, swings and a pedestrian plaza.

“A business owner at the Bergfeld Shopping Center approached me and said he thought the park really needed a facelift,” Tyler businessman Don Warren said. Warren, who lives near the park, has headed up a committee of 60 neighbors who live nearby to give input on possible improvements. The park is bounded by Second and Fourth streets and by College and South Broadway avenues.

City Council will meet at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at the City Hall, 212 N. Bonner Ave.