Volunteers raising funds to assist Nottoway County in its effort to build a new animal shelter are getting antsy.
The County’s shelter status has become somewhat reminiscent of a 1975 Purina Cat chow commercial (“Chow, Chow, Chow”), where a cat and its owner take two steps forward and two steps back.
It’s been three-and-a-half years since attorney Jack Boswell stood before the Board of Supervisors in Dec. 2018 and urged officials to replace the current shelter, which he called “horrible and disgraceful.”
Boswell, who now chairs Nottoway CAReS, returned to the audience Thursday night, nodding in approval at pleas made by committee colleague Celia Orr-Elzay. Boswell has donated $10,000 plus the 2.5 acre site valued at $50,000 in the Town of Burkeville.
Mrs. Orr-Elzay said it’s good to see $1.735 million in the County’s capital improvement plan for the shelter, but she said it’s time to include those funds in the 2023-24 budget so construction can begin as soon as possible after July 1st.
She said she understands concerns about rising construction costs, supply chain delays, and surging inflation. “But in spite of this, we really urge you to allow no delay in construction of the shelter. Don’t wait for ‘ideal market conditions.’ Frankly, we’re not sure they’re ever going to return again.” Mrs. Orr-Elzay said attorney Boswell is “increasingly concerned about the County’s liability with the deteriorating state of the shelter,” which is located at the County landfill. “There are risks that are presented day-to-day to the County and to the ACOs working there.”
She added, “You know, we have some obligation to all those supporters and donors and people who’ve been so enthusiastic about the shelter for three-and-a-half years… Hope is not just an emotion. It’s an action.”
Mrs. Orr-Elzay reported that the “Build a Better Shelter” campaign launched by Nottoway CAReS has raised $221,668 and has pledges totaling $55,000.
Also, the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation has offered a $50,000 grant if the committee can raise another $50,000 between June 6th and September 6th of this year.
Board Chair Lynn Shekleton later in the meeting said she “definitely” agrees that, “We need to move forward to the degree possible.”
County Administrator Ted Costin said revisions are being made to the shelter’s design. He did not elaborate.
Supervisor Steve Bowen cited anticipated delays getting materials plus rising inflation.
“Can we build the shelter we had DREAMED of? Because costs have gone up like 300%. So we’re kinda stuck between that and what’s reasonable.”
Bowen added, however, “We still want to move forward. We’re not saying that we’re not moving forward.”