Roice-Hurst eyes move to former Mesa County shelter

Wally, a nine-year-old husky and labrador mix, looks up at kennel technician Brad Peltier of Clifton in the inside kennel area at the Roice-Hurst Humane Society, 3320 D 1/2 road. Wally has been at Roice-Hurst since mid-July waiting to be adopted.

Cats at Roice-Hurst Humane Society may live another one of their nine lives in a nicer facility if officials there can scratch out a deal with the county.

Instead of making costly and needed repairs to the aging shelter at 3320 D 1/2 Road, Roice-Hurst officials have proposed to swap their Clifton facility and land for Mesa County’s former animal shelter and acreage at 362 28 Road.

“We think it’s a fiscally responsible way to use donors’ money,” said Roice-Hurst’s board president Elaine Johnson. “We think this will be a new beginning for Roice-Hurst.”

While the proposal is in its infancy, both sides, so far, seem to think the swap would be a good deal.

Johnson said she came up with the idea for the trade while daydreaming about how nice it would be to sell Roice-Hurst’s current location and use the proceeds to purchase the former Mesa County animal shelter.

The old, outgrown county shelter had been listed for sale. Mesa County animal shelter now operates out of a newly constructed facility at 971 Coffman Road.

The county’s former shelter is in much better condition than Roice-Hurst and is better suited in terms of safety for visitors, staff and animals, Johnson said. Its location is more centralized than the rural Clifton location, which could encourage more volunteers to work there and encourage more pet adoptions. Indoor and outdoor pens are bigger than Roice-Hurst’s current location and a move would be an upgrade of 875 square feet of shelter space.

Spokeswoman Jessica Peterson of Mesa County said county officials are working on a draft document to present to commissioners at a late October meeting. If the trade is approved, the county eventually would sell the parcel, Peterson said.

“It’s nice that it works out in everybody’s favor, that both sides feel it’s a good trade,” Peterson said. “None of this is a done deal until commissioners approve it. It is an even trade. It would enhance the county having it.”

According to the Mesa County Assessor’s Office, Roice-Hurst’s almost 8.6 acres and facility is valued at $905,150, and zoned Agricultural Forestry Transitional, or AFT. The county’s nearly 2.7 acres and facility is valued at $540,800 and zoned Planned Urban Development, or PUD.

Although Roice-Hurst is situated on more land than the county’s parcel, it is surrounded by homes, and the shelter has long fielded complaints from neighbors about barking dogs, Johnson said.

Noise from barking dogs could better be controlled at the old county shelter, an area that already had been accustomed to having a shelter in its backyard.

The county’s land, while smaller, could be developed to include walking trails and other amenities, Johnson said. Also, a program that paired youths from the nearby Grand Mesa Youth Detention Center with animals could be reinstated.

“I’ve heard nothing but positive response about this,” Johnson said. “Our membership is behind it. (The old county shelter) is a very specific-use building. We think we’re helping the county and taxpayers by doing this.”


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