City animal shelter project still on go

This photo was taken at Minden Animal Shelter last year.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

City of Minden Animal Shelter is still on track for a facelift.

In a workshop last week, Mayor Nick Cox and Building Official Brent Cooley told councilpersons that Minden still has a portion of a $75,000 state grant received during late mayor Terry Gardner’s administration.

“We’ve spent about half of that,” said Cooley. “The grant was supposed to be used by June of last year, but we got it extended. We have roughly $38,000 sitting there to be spent for development at the animal shelter.”

Cooley said the first portion of the grant was spent for clearing and major repairs to the incinerator.

“We built new gates in the front and new gates coming on the back side,” he said.

Cox said the city has requested certain things from the state that include more than $30,000 additional for the animal shelter.

“So we have about $70,000 to go toward a $350,000 project,” Cox said. “We also have our ARPA funds (American Rescue Plan Act), that we have to allocate by the end of 2024.”

City of Minden received a total of $4.2 million of ARPA over two payments.

The mayor said he has designated a certain amount of that money for the shelter renovation.

“We are doing good going toward our goal; we’ve got about 20 percent of it,” the mayor said. “I think the best chance we have of getting donations to meet that goal is to move forward on the project.”

“The development and design work have been done,” Cooley said. “That was $10,000 to the architects to design the project. They’re on the hook to meet with us through the project, getting all the approvals.”

The $350,000 estimate is based on the square footage of the project, however, construction costs are unstable at best and the estimate is from 2022. Cox said the plans were ready in early 2023, and that amount accompanied the plans.

“But we really don’t have a clue what it’s going to cost,” Cooley said.

The original plan was to build a new shelter on other city property. The former council did not approve that idea, but instead, the money was to be used to renovate the shelter on Dianne Street. Drainage and storage have been huge problems at that location.

“The animal shelter isn’t going to get any better on its own, and if you’ve ever been down there, it’s pretty rough,” Cox said. “It’s time to do something.”

Ashley McVey, a professor at LSUS and often fosters dogs from Minden’s animal shelter, was present at a council workshop last year.

“I have connections that can help them raise donations,” McVey said at that meeting. “All the rescue people I know locally – Shreveport, Bossier, Minden, DeSoto – all have ties to this huge, incredible national network that helps fund projects like this one.”

District D Councilman Michael Roy said there is a lot of support for the shelter.

“She (McVey) talks very highly, but she’s not going to do anything until we can send her some finalized plans that we are set with,” said Roy. “She’s done a lot of projects, and I talked to some of the others like the humane association. They’re willing to help with drumming up donations.

“We just have to take it to the public and say this is what we are planning to do,” he continued. “I think the shelter has been neglected far too long.”

Cooley added. “Nobody is going to donate to the project until they see the project is happening.”

Send donations to City of Minden, 520 Broadway, Minden, LA 71055 or City of Minden, P. O. Box 580, Minden, LA 71058-0580.

Minden Animal Shelter