South KC Perspective
By John Sharp
Question 3 would authorize issuing up to $50 million in general obligation bonds for improvements to public facilities including constructing a new animal shelter and renovating buildings and structures to become ADA compliant.
Although some groups oppose all three city bond proposals, I know of no groups who have questioned the need to comply with ADA requirements. Schulte pointed out at the Citizens Association meeting that the city is under a federal consent decree to make such improvements, which he said will be primarily at city hall and will also include major work at Starlight Theater and other park facilities such as the Swope Park swimming pool.
Much of the campaigning for this question has been by supporters of the KC Pet Project, the not-for-profit organization that operates the city’s woefully undersized 45-year-old shelter in a building once used for construction material storage at 4400 Raytown Rd. south of the Jackson County Sports Complex.
Last year the shelter accepted more than 10,000 pets and achieved a record high live release rate of 94.8% making it the 3rd largest open admission “no kill” animal shelter in the country. Much of its success in adopting out pets is due to its adoption centers in the Zona Rosa Shopping Center and in the Overland Park Petco Store and the cat habitats in six other area Petco stores.
Schulte has told both the Southern Communities Coalition and the Citizens Association that about $14 million in bond proceeds will be used to build the new shelter that is proposed to be constructed in Swope Park at Elmwood and Gregory Blvd.
The proposed 60,000 square foot structure will be just west of an off-leash dog park and across the street from the Lakeside Nature Center. The new shelter is envisioned to have larger kennels, cage-free housing for pets and a modern veterinary care center.
Private donors to a “Raise the Woof” fundraising campaign are expected to raise at least $10 million in additional funds for the project which will include a maintenance endowment to assure adequate upkeep of the facility.