Chesterton Tribune

Revitalized County Animal Shelter sets open house Monday; sign approved

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The Porter County Animal Shelter has been at the center of controversy, criticism and concern all summer.

County commissioner Nancy Adams hopes that months of work, a closed week of intense repair and a new brand can give the beleaguered facility a fresh start.

Since county council president Dan Whitten expressed his outrage after a late July visit to the shelter revealed 85 cats in a non-air-conditioned room, the shelter has been in a constant state of repair. Adams, new shelter director Kristina Montgomery and a host of volunteers have refurbished every part of the building to make it more suitable for the animals.

After a week of being closed to the public to conduct about a $10,000 renovation fueled mostly by volunteers, Adams and the shelter staff are inviting the public to see the changes at an open house at 5:30 on Monday.

“We really hope that people come out to see what’s changed for themselves,” Adams said. “We want people to see all the things that have been done for the better.”

To symbolize all of the improvements intended to create a better environment for the animals and potential adopters, the shelter has created a new logo to establish a fresh brand. Adams and Montgomery revealed that new logo at the board of zoning appeals meeting where they were seeking four variances for a new sign outside the shelter on US 2.

The shelter was granted the variances to create a 10-foot tall, internally-lit sign with the logo on top and a three-line marquee for displaying shelter news underneath.

“We wanted to change the logo and get a new sign to try and convey the positive image of the shelter and how things have changed,” Adams said.

The sign won’t be up in time for Monday’s open house, but should be constructed in about three weeks.

Storage units approved

In other news at the board of zoning appeals meeting, Bennett Storage was granted seven variances to construct a three-building storage center on 1050N just west of CR125.

The area is zoned I-2, so storage centers were allowed in the area, but the variances were needed to fit the large center on a strip of land just 178 feet wide. The issue was tabled at the Aug. 17 board meeting, but Bennett was able to satisfy the concerns of the board enough to pass with a 4-1 vote.

The main variances granted were a reduction of the buffer yards on each side of the property, an alteration to the landscaping ordinance, allowing a six-foot security fence and gravel driveways.

Marvin Brickner was the lone dissenter citing his concern that Bennett was simply trying to do too much on too small of a piece of land. He was more pleased with the new proposal that has trees and landscaping on both sides of the property, even the side abutting the NIPSCO power towers.

The board also saw it as a positive that no storage doors will be visible from the outside of the property, they are only on the inward facing walls of the complex.



Posted 9/22/2011