By Ashley Rader
You could say that after years of planning, fundraising and waiting, cats and dogs are finally reigning in Carter County; work has officially begun on the new Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter.
Construction crews were on the site of the new shelter on Sycamore Shoals Drive starting Tuesday.
There was a slight delay in the start of construction after the Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission conditionally approved final plans, requiring a landscaping plan to be submitted within 60 days.
Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey, who has worked closely with the animal shelter committees, said the request for landscaping plans was quickly fulfilled. He said Keith Hart, director of the Carter County UT Extension office, worked with the architect to select the appropriate trees and plants for the site.
Humphrey said he was notified Tuesday that contractors from Landmark Construction had received permits to proceed with the work. Contracts were changed to list Feb. 19 as the first day of construction.
“Everyone is excited to see the heavy equipment out on the site,” Humphrey said. “It is great.”
Mike Barnett, chairman of the ECCAS Building Committee and Advisory Committee, said the crews were completing some preliminary site work to prepare the area for major construction that will begin within a few weeks.
He said crews were “finding the corner pins” to determine how the building will be situated on the site. Additional crews are working at the back of the site to correct a drainage issue to better handle run-off on the lot.
The crews will remove topsoil and bring in fill dirt to compact for the shelter’s base. After the site work is finished, work crews can pour the cement base for the shelter and begin work on the building itself.
The target for project completion is 120 days. Barnett said the pace of the work will depend largely on the weather.
“The amount of preliminary site work they are able to complete depends on the rain and if it will hold off,” Barnett said. “The crews do need a few reasonably warm nights to be able to pour the concrete and have that set up correctly.”
Barnett is pleased to see work starting on the long-planned animal shelter.