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County land could pay the way to new animal shelter

Shasta County owns 8.9 acres of undeveloped land off Breslauer Way that would make a wonderful addition to the City of Redding’s collection of open spaces, trails and parks.

The property, shaped roughly like a slip-on shoe, slopes along the banks of the Sacramento River.

Speaking of Redding, it owns 6.5 acres along Eastside Road upon which Shasta County could build that new animal shelter it’s wanted for so long (Plan B since Plan A to form a joint city/county shelter died of starvation). 

Here’s something interesting about that Eastside Road property the county’s coveting: It’s right next door to Haven Human Society. How convenient would that be?

On Tuesday Larry Lees, county administrator, gleefully shared his creative idea to the Board of Supervisors, a plan he said would move the county closer to building a new, modern animal shelter. (If you’ve seen the county shelter, you know it’s in extremely dire straits.)

Lees called his plan a win-win-win-win-win situation:

•The county could sell Breslauer, perhaps to the city of Redding, or to a non-profit organization that would use the land for parks, trails and open spaces.

•The county could use the money from the sale of its Breslauer property to buy the desired city of Redding property near Haven Humane Society.

•At last, the county could dump its sad, old run-down shelter and construct a bigger, better one on property that has more pasture land and room to grow. 

• Next-door neighbor animal shelters would provide myriad collaboration opportunities. The public could go to one vicinity to search for lost or adoptable pets. The shelter staffers could share information and resources to best care for the animals. (In a perfect world, the shelters would just join forces.)

“I like it!” Lees said of his plan.

Apparently, the supervisors liked the idea, too.

They voted unanimously to authorize two appraisals of the riverside county land. Why two appraisals, you might ask? Well, each appraisal will consider a different potential use for the riverside property. One appraisal would look at the land with open space, parks and trails in mind. The other appraisal would look at the land full, private development in mind. (Though Supervisor Mark Cibula expressed the opinion that his first choice for the land’s future was for parks, trails and open spaces.)

My guess is that appraisals for fully developed land would run higher, thus, the higher the appraisal, the higher the selling price.

Regarding the city-owned Eastside Road land, it’s mostly empty.  The Shasta Cascade Rail Preservation Society does lease part of the Eastside Road land so it can display old railroad cars and tracks there. For that reason, the Rail Preservation Society’s members do not share Lees’ enthusiasm for the land plans.

But they’re getting ahead of themselves.

The Breslauer Way property hasn’t been appraised. And the Redding City Council hasn’t weighed in on this. First things first.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.

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