LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A multi-million dollar donation is withdrawn from the city as construction continues to stall on a new, Lubbock animal shelter. "I would hope that we'd have another shot at it, but as it stands right now, it appears we've lost the money," Lubbock Mayor Tom Martin said.
NewsChannel 11 first learned of a $3 million donation to help Lubbock build a new animal shelter Wednesday. Just as quickly, we learned that money is no longer available.
Mayor Martin tells us that the donation was made with the expectation that a new shelter would be built soon. But with an exact location still in question he says the donor and other citizens are frustrated. "This shelter is getting to be a source of embarrassment," one citizen said. "Our bond issue passed in 2004. Guess what? It's 2009," another citizen said.
The frustration was clear Tuesday night, as concerned citizens addressed Lubbock City Councilman Todd Klein at his town hall meeting. "We should have already gotten it underway," Klein said.
Klein agrees the project is behind, and now it appears the delay will cost more than time. "I would imagine it's a combination of frustration and not staying with the terms in which the donor made the donation, and that is that we get on with getting this built," Martin said.
An anonymous donor had pledged $3 million to the project. Add that to the $3.5 million already approved by voters, and the city could have built a $6.5 million shelter. That matches the cost of original estimates. "It would have made a tremendous impact on the facility itself. She or he is frustrated as much as I am with the dragging of feet," Lubbock City Councilwoman Linda DeLeon said.
Part of the delay has been picking a building site. Neighborhood opposition, access, and a lawsuit about proposed locations are just part of the problem. Council members have not agreed on a site either.
Lubbock City Councilman John Leonard and Mayor Martin opposed a park location when council first voted on the issue back in April. Lubbock City Councilman Floyd Price told us he supported Mackenzie at the time. Now, he just wants a shelter put in a place that people won't complain about.
The newest objection comes from Councilwoman DeLeon. She no longer supports the Mackenzie Park location, citing a citizen report about poor maintenance on city facilities. "I don't want to have a pretty facility for a couple of years and see it deteriorate. So I don't need it in a park looking that way, so it needs to be in another location," DeLeon said.
"It's a setback. I still stand behind the validity of that location," Klein said. City leaders agree that citizens have a right to be frustrated. "They have a right to be angry," DeLeon said.
Leaders say they won't quit, though, until a solution is found. "We won't let up or give up. Hopefully we'll find that place where everybody will be happy," Martin said.
As it stands now, Mackenzie Park is the approved site for a new shelter. A public hearing is scheduled for July 28th to discuss that location, but council could take quicker action on Friday. That's when they'll meet during a special city council meeting, where members could officially reject Mackenzie and possibly propose a new location, though Mayor Martin says there are no new locations to propose at this time.
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DeLeon reverses herself on controversial animal shelter issue
After 10 p.m. Thursday City Councilwoman Linda Deleon made a public written statement saying she no longer supports the construction of a new animal shelter in Mackenzie Park.