Tulsans weigh in on city’s plan for new $13.8 million animal shelter

Tulsans weigh in on city's plan for new $13.8 million animal shelter

Tulsans on Monday night had their first opportunity to provide input on the city’s plan to build a new $13.8 million animal shelter.

About three dozen people attended the Tulsa Animal Welfare Commission’s special meeting at City Hall.

“I do have some concerns about the location, the proximity to the zoo,” said Zac Poland.

Poland said he was concerned that the new site near the Tulsa Zoo and Mohawk Park could lead to the dumping of more pets.

It “could potentially lead to an increase of unwanted pets,” he said.

Poland was not alone in questioning the wisdom of the new site.

“It needs to be centrally located,” Lisa Brown told commission members.

The city announced in October that it had abandoned its plan to renovate its existing shelter at 3031 N. Erie Ave and would instead build a new facility on 3.5 acres of city-owned land at 36th Street North and Pawnee Drive, just south of the zoo.

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Jamie Prashaw, a senior architect for GH2, presented a conceptual plan for the new facility.

“At this point, these are just lines on paper, and they are easy to move,” she said.

Prashaw said the city has already made changes to the conceptual plan to address the Tulsa Zoo’s concerns about the new site.

If in six months the design looks different, “don’t be alarmed,” she said.

Commission member Teresa Meinders-Burkett noted after the meeting that the city doesn’t have excess unused property on which to build a shelter.

“It’s limited, and it’s not in central Tulsa,” she said, adding that many of the city-owned properties are in the floodplain.

Although many speakers expressed dissatisfaction with the new location, the plans for the new facility were generally well received.

The 24,125-square-foot facility is expected to include clinic space, a surgery center, isolation rooms, an adoption area, office space, an outdoor space for animals, and more than 500 cages for cats, dogs, exotic animals and recovering animals.

The city has been working on the project since 2013, when Tulsans approved funding for shelter renovations as part of the first Improve Our Tulsa capital improvement package.

Over time, as the scope of the project expanded and prices rose, city officials began exploring whether a new facility could be built at a cost similar to the requested improvements, as the shelter’s needs have continued to grow.

Animal Welfare Commission Chairman Susan Savage ended the meeting by thanking the attendees for their continued efforts to improve conditions at the shelter.

“It has been at times a little disheartening,” she said of the long process of getting a new shelter built.


Tulsans weigh in on city’s plan for new $13.8 million animal shelter

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