New animal shelter, downtown hotel, and more on council agenda

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – The Cityof Abilene is taking its first steps in following through on a promise to make a better experience for shelter animals.

On the agenda is a contract to work with an architect to design a brand new animal shelter. Still at the very earliest stages of development, the new building could cost more than $6 million. The structure could possibly be located next to the existing dog park located at Grover Nelson Park.

“If you’ve been in the animal shelter now, it’s dark, dank, and it was built as a warehousing opportunity for animals to process them in and process them out the back door”, explains City Manager Robert Hanna. “It is not designed for adoptions. It is not designed to further a 90% live release rate.”

That release rate is another item on the agenda; the City will consider a formal policy of making sure nine out of every ten animals taken into the shelter is adopted out.

Another step the council could take is one that gets closer to a hotel downtown. Council could approve the Abilene Convention Center Hotel Development Corporation. The non-profit organization is meant to finance and develop the long-discussed hotel.

Another bit of new construction is in the future of Shotwell Stadium. Abilene ISD has plans to add a track and field complex to the stadium grounds. That matter is set to go through its first reading this meeting.

Looking to the streets of Abilene, the Development Corporation of Abilene is preparing to kick millions of dollars into the street mainenance fund. Since they would be spending more than $2 million, the council will need to approve their plan to pump millions into the fund over the next several years.

A change could be coming to the Taylor County Jail, with a “jail navigator” position being created. This comes at the request of the Betty Hardwick Center, who would help fund the position. The navigator acts as a resource for those with mental health concerns, as jails can be one of the first place where mental health needs are identified.

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