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Mayor Hogsett announces new site for long-delayed animal shelter

Hogsett announces new animal shelter site

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mayor Joe Hogsett on Thursday said the new site for a planned animal shelter lacks the remediation problems a previous site had.

After years of trying to build a new city animal shelter on the site of an old RCA factory at North Sherman Drive and East Michigan Street, Hogsett’s office announced the city now plans to build the shelter on an old Indianapolis Housing Authority property located at East Raymond Street and Emerson Avenue. City officials said the ZIP code where the new site is located has the second-highest number of strays and animal control calls in the city, and the ZIP code with the highest such numbers is right next door.

Hogsett said the city had not been able to secure federal remediation funding for the Sherman Park site.

“I’m very optimistic about this new site,” Hogsett said. “It’s located in a great location, and we want to get construction started as quickly as possible.”

Indianapolis Animal Care Services’ current facility has faced overcrowding problems, with many animals sleeping in kennels in the hallways. Republican mayoral candidate Jefferson Shreve has highlighted the shelter’s problems as part of his campaign. Early this month, he vowed to donate his salary as mayor to IACS and speed up the building of a new shelter.

Abbey Brands, the director of the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services, which oversees IACS, said contractors were already working on designs for the new shelter when the project got put on hold. She said those designs will be adapted for the new site.

Shreve called Thursday’s announcement by Hogsett an election season stunt. He said the Hogsett Administration should have never considered the Sherman Park location in the first place, especially if the Raymond Street site was already in the city’s inventory.

“I was on the council back in 2017, and we saw a proposal for a replacement shelter,” Shreve said. “Through his administration, we haven’t done a thing.”

Shreve said if he is elected mayor, he would consider sticking with the Raymond Street site.

City leaders have already set aside $19 million in bonds to cover the costs and private charities have raised another $6.7 million. Supporters said they still need to raise another $300,000. Brands said the funding set aside for the shelter to date should be enough.

The city still needs to finalize transfer terms with IHA and HUD. Brands said construction could begin as soon as early 2024.