A purchasing agreement has been reached that is expected to convert the former offices of The Daily Post-Athenian into the new home of the Athens Animal Shelter.
The Athens City Council will vote next Tuesday night on whether to authorize the purchase of this property, located at 320 S. Jackson St.
The resolution to be considered by the council reads, in part: “the City of Athens wishes to enhance the Animal Shelter services and build environmental conditions for better care for dogs and cats on behalf of our citizens … the City of Athens, along with partners from the McMinn Regional Humane Society, McMinn County Government, the Town of Englewood, the City of Etowah, and the City of Calhoun, as well as numerous compassionate individuals throughout our community desire to improve the conditions for animal care in our community … the City of Athens and partners wish to purchase a currently vacant building to house a new state-of-the-art Animal Shelter, as well as have flexible space that can be used by the local governments and nonprofits”
The asking price from building owners the Jones family was just shy of $1 million. During talks with the sellers, Mayor Bo Perkinson, City Manager C. Seth Sumner and McMinn Regional Humane Society Board Member Larry Wallace negotiated a price of $655,000 for the 6.68-acre property and building. Earnest money in the amount of $10,000 has been accepted by the seller and will be applied toward the purchase price.
Sumner said during Monday’s council study session that approximately $300,000 more will be needed to perform the necessary modifications to the building prior to its opening as the new animal shelter.
Council Member Mark Lockmiller noted that the estimated cost assessed earlier this year to build a new animal shelter on the Athens Public Works property was about $1.9 million.
“So, we’ve actually gone from $1.9 million down to $900,000,” said Lockmiller of the combined cost to purchase and refurbish the building.
If approved by the council, the resolution does require outside funding.
“We do have a contingency in this resolution upon participation by (McMinn) County,” explained Sumner.
The McMinn County Commission is expected to vote on its contribution to the project at its next regular meeting, scheduled for July 26. Sumner said he anticipates a $250,000 allocation from the county.
No official timeframe has been set, but Sumner said he hopes the work can be completed in time for the new shelter to be operational by this winter.
Perkinson said about half of the roughly 18,000 square foot building will be dedicated to shelter operations. Sumner added that the other half of the building will be multi-functional.