A new Geneseo animal shelter is one step closer to becoming a reality.
On Jan. 10, Henry County Humane Society - Geneseo board members presented a $38,400 check to City of Geneseo officials. The amount equals 80 percent of the land's appraised value.
The money was used to purchase nearly five acres of land from the city. Humane society officials plan to start building a new animal shelter on the site this spring.
The current animal shelter is located off Roos Hill Road in Geneseo, near the city's burn pile. The land and building are owned by the city.
Initially, humane society officials wanted to buy land immediately south of the current shelter to build a new facility.
Zoning requirements necessitate the animal shelter have an "agriculture" designation. At least five acres are needed to earn an agriculture designation. The land initially selected for the shelter was only 2.6 acres.
Instead, city-owned land located east of the current animal shelter was proposed as a future site for the new shelter.
That land was home to the city dog park and a park shelter, both of which now belong to the humane society and will remain in place.
In addition to purchasing the land, humane society officials recently learned that Geneseo residents John and Carla Edwards will donate the foundation and Morton-building shell for a new animal shelter.
The new shelter will be between 3,500 and 5,500 square feet.
Humane society officials hope to raise an additional $250,000 to finish the inside of the building and install needed mechanical utilities.
The new building will feature in-floor heating as well as a zone-based air circulation and filtration system.
"The air circulation in our cat rooms will be different from the kitten room which will be different from the special needs room," explained humane society board member Amy Gadberry. Separate air circulation systems will help promote animal health, she said.
In addition the new shelter will have between 12-15 dog runs, some of which will be used strictly for the intake of new animals.
"We will be able to handle the smaller dogs a lot better," said board member Cindy Avey.
In the past, ringworm outbreaks have been problematic among the shelter's cat population.
"By having an isolation room, we hope to be able to pull out sick animals so they don't infect the rest," said humane society board president Karen Russell.
Henry County Humane Society board members said they've toured a number of area animal shelters gathering ideas for their new location.
In addition to increased space for animals, the new shelter will feature office space, storage locations and laundry facilities.
Page 2 of 2 - "This has been a long-time coming. It's almost hard to believe," said Russell.
The property being sold to the humane society has been in the city's possession since "at least the early 1900s" said city attorney Virgil Thurman.
"This is a great opportunity for the humane society," said Geneseo mayor Linda Van Der Leest. "We're excited about what they're going to do."
"We're excited to show people we're making progress on this new shelter," said Russell. "We hope they'll support us."
Donations for the new animal shelter may be mailed to: Henry County Humane Society - Geneseo, P.O. Box 145, Geneseo, IL 61254.