City Council expected to approve Pixley Park as site of new animal shelter

The city’s new animal shelter could finally have a new home by next Wednesday.

The Lodi City Council is set to approve a resolution on its consent calendar that would designate a portion of Pixley Park as the site of the future Animal Services Facility.

In addition, the resolution would authorize the city manager’s office to execute an agreement with Stockton-based LDA Partners, Inc. to design the shelter, located at 1041 Auto Center Drive, for $992,000.

According to Wednesday’s staff report, funding for the project is available from savings associated with refinancing the city’s 2012 Lease Revenue bonds.

Some $900,000 will be allocated from the city’s general fund, and another $300,000 from the 2021-2022 Capital Improvement Project fund will be used.

The existing shelter, located at 1345 W. Kettleman Lane, was built in 1958 and is only 2,800 square feet in size.

Although it was expanded in 1983, staff said it is undersized, outdated, and does not meet modern requirements for comprehensive animal care.

The Lodi Police Department, which operates the shelter as part of its animal services division, first proposed a new facility during a March city council meeting. Since that time, four locations had been chosen as potential sites: 22 E. Locust St.; city-owned property at Century Boulevard and Stockton Street; 500 S. Guild Ave.; and 1040 Auto Center Drive.

During an April 5 council shirtsleeve session, the Guild Avenue and Auto Center Drive sites — both of which are 2 acres in size — were chosen as the best locations.

At an April 13 community meeting about the shelter, LDA Partners staff said the Auto Center Drive site was located close to a public center — the Kettleman and Cherokee lanes area — and was in a less industrial area than the Thurman Road and Guild Avenue site.

It’s also adjacent to the future Pixley Park, and allows for expansion into a vacant piece of land directly east of the site, they said.

While the Guild Avenue site had corner visibility at Thurman Road, it was too close to a public utility facility and railroad tracks, the latter of which could cause anxiety in animals when trains travel through the area.

The site is also further away from the public center and interaction with the community.

The proposed shelter will have holding areas for 30 cats and about 27 dogs, as well as larger visiting rooms for prospective pet owners to interact with the animals.

There will be large observation rooms fronted by glass windows so visitors can have better views of the cats and dogs, and the holding pens and observation rooms for dogs will both be larger and hold fewer animals at once.

The plan is also to create a larger lobby area that is more friendly, open and inviting, with a “retail” feel that will entice visitors to want to adopt an animal.

City staff said during the community meeting that crews should break ground by the summer of 2023, with completion slated for the following summer.

The council at its April 26 shirtsleeve meeting favored the Auto Center Drive location, as well as the inclusion of veterinary services at the facility.

Wednesday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine St. It will also be streamed live at www.facebook.com/CityofLodi.