Parish seeking grant for animal shelter

Published 9:53 am Friday, June 27, 2014

The Washington Parish Government plans to seek grant monies to assist with building its proposed animal shelter, the Parish Council learned Monday.

The parish has submitted a request for $68,000 in Louisiana Government Assistance Program funding for the project, Public Works Director Leo Lucchesi reported during the June 23 meeting.

If awarded, that grant funding would be used to renovate an existing Department of Public Works facility at the intersection of Yacc Road and Louisiana Highway 10, the proposed site for the animal shelter.

Plans call for the approximately 2,600-square-foot facility, located in the Sheridan community, to serve the small animal needs of the parish, including housing cats and dogs on a temporary basis.

The LGAP funds would be used to hire contract labor, with the parish hoping to solicit competitive bids for the construction of a wastewater system, the building of fencing and gates to control the animal population, and work to update the electrical, plumbing, HVAC and venting systems.

The scope of the work would include establishing a ventilated general kennel area with 3-foot-by-6-foot concrete runs, sloped toward drains and piping leading to a wastewater system.

“The plan is to attain a capacity of 20 dogs that could be doubled up in case of temporary excessive animal inflow,” the funding request states. “Cats will be housed in individual cages placed atop the same approved wastewater system.”

Also constructed would be a climate-controlled intake and exam room, a work room with food preparation and storage areas, general storage, a bathing and grooming area, a janitor’s station and a fenced-in yard built adjacent to the existing building.

An existing, functioning water well is already in place at the site, and additional piping would be constructed to add to the fresh water resources for the animals, as well as for cleaning of the facility.

The LGAP grant would be added to existing state funding of about $85,000 for the animal shelter. Secured years ago by Sen. Ben Nevers, that funding can be used only for materials to build the shelter, Lucchesi said.

In other business, Parish President Richard Thomas proclaimed June 2014 Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.

More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, and, in 2013, the disease had a cost to taxpayers of $203 billion, he said.

The proclamation was presented to Kreig Todd, president of the Memory Walkers of Washington Parish.

“I thank the council for their support of the Memory Walkers and Alzheimer’s awareness,” he said. “It is only through a cooperative effort that we can help put a stop to this disease and that we can fund Alzheimer’s research through more private entities.”

Speaking during public participation, Washington Parish Library Director Al Barron gave the council members an update on library programs and invited them to two upcoming events.

He said a program on Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots will run Aug. 7 through Sept. 25 at the Franklinton Branch Library. Books will be provided, and more information can be obtained by calling the library at 985-839-7806.

Additionally, the library system’s Book Festival is set for Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“It will be a literary event I don’t think this parish has seen in the past,” Barron said.