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Ascension Parish is one step closer to opening its new animal shelter

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ASCENSION PARISH - Ascension Parish is close to securing land for its next animal shelter, as the current space isn't ideal and costs taxpayers more and more money each time it floods.

"A lot of people have expressed their frustrations that we're still in the old building," Ascension Parish Councilman Chase Melancon said. "The major issue with it is that it is in a terrible flood zone, and every time Ascension Parish has one of these backwater flooding events, we have to evacuate the animals out of the shelter."

A voter-approved millage in 2018 has been slowly collecting money for a larger, more flood-resistant facility.

"It's very small," the councilman said about the old location. "It's very old. You know we're kind of constantly sinking six figures into this thing on an annual basis, just to where we can continue to occupy it."

One proposed location is on Airline Highway across from the flea market in Prairieville. Melancon believes the Prairieville location has the best chance because two of the potential sites would be a flood risk, and the third is not easily accessible.

"Two of them are in low lying areas," he said. "We're like 99% sure elevation is just going to take them out of consideration. So that's the issue with two of them. One of them is located near an intersection that DOTD has announced they want to turn from a four way stop to a roundabout."

Right now, the Prairieville site is being surveyed to see how it fares in heavy rains.

"We have our experts who do wetlands mitigation for the parish of Ascension," Melancon said. "They're out there seeing if there is a wetlands on the property. If there is wetlands, is it that a large portion is unusable?"

Much of the leg work is already done.

"They have started the design of the facility," Melancon said. "The finals drawings are not done, but the overall architectural layout is complete, so we know what they look like."

The early estimates for the shelter are between four and six million dollars.

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