In The News

Property donated to city slated for dog park

​​By Sharon Myers / The Dispatch

The Lexington City Council accepted the donation of more than 5 acres of land on Swing Dairy Road near Childers Park on Monday during its regular meeting. The land will possibly be developed into a dog park.

Blake McWhorter and his wife, Amy Smith-McWhorter, owners of the property, donated the 5.4 acres adjacent to the existing park to the city.

Lexington City Manager Alan Carson said city staff and council have been discussing the possibility of building a dog park and with the donation of the land. It may be approved as a project.

“We have been looking for property in conjunction with a park that we could do a dog park for some point and time,” Carson said. “I am not going to say it is for the express use of a dog park, but we are going to take a good long look at it. That was the idea behind (this donation of land) along with the humane society working with us.”

Carson said that members of the Davidson County Humane Society approached him with the idea of creating a dog park to commemorate its 40th anniversary this year. He said although there hasn’t been any formal plans adopted, the city is willing to move forward with the possibility of developing a dog park in the future.

“We haven’t worked out all the details with the humane society yet, but they have a pretty good idea and we are more than willing to work with them,” Carson said. “We are excited about it, but nothing could happen without the land. The McWhorter’s are making it possible for us to take a good hard look and maybe have a dog park in this community.”

The city council also held a public hearing before approving the rezoning of a parcel at 715 N. Tussey St. to a traditional neighborhood district. No one spoke in opposition or support for the rezoning request.

According to Josh Monk, Lexington City Planner, a portion of the approximate 10 acres is currently zoned as a traditional neighborhood, a portion is designated as business and another portion has no zoning. He said in accordance with state law, the city must adopt a statement of consistency and the land use plan identifies the traditional neighborhood district as the appropriate zoning.

“Basically we are just correcting an inconsistency in the zoning map,” Monk said.

Also during the meeting, the city council also approved a call for two public hearings in connection with a lease agreement and a possible community development block grant for city-owned property located at 201 E. First Ave.. The public hearing for both issues will be held on May 22.

During the petitions from citizens, where the public are allowed to address the council on items not on the agenda, Charles Clark spoke about his concern for the lack of waste disposal in Ward 1. He said had there are more than 75 homes in the area that were not having yard waste removed in a timely manner.

Shirl Lide addressed the council on the progress made toward home ownership, business development and education of minorities in the City of Lexington. She said she is looking for data and any other information to demonstrate measurable improvements that have been made in these areas.

Sharon Myers can be reached at (336) 249-3981, ext. 228, or at Follow Sharon on Twitter: @LexDispatchSM

Lacking funds, Humane Society scales back programs

By Sharon Myers / The Dispatch

Humane Society of Davidson County leaders say they must scale back on services due to a lack of funding.

Becky Everhart, director of animal programs for the local Humane Society, said the organization has seen an increase in the number of animals in its spay and neutering program, which has had an impact on their budget.

“We have an annual budget between $45,000 and $60,000. We have already spent about $42,000 so far this year,” Everhart said. “We started with a deficit this year because in the year prior we had so many kittens that were spayed or neutered. We wanted to make sure that we continued to be committed to the responsibility that we uphold.”

One of the main goals of the Humane Society is to aid animals in crisis, but it also works to prevent animals from getting into situations of distress, including overpopulation.

Some of the programs which will be impacted by these cuts include reduction in the number of dogs and cats accepted in the organization’s foster program as well as to its sick and injured program that helps pay veterinarian bills for pet owners who cannot afford it. Everhart said they will have to prioritize which animals receive funding based on the severity of injuries

Bruce Kingsbury, president of the Davidson County Humane Society, said the agency had to cut back on several of its programs so it can continue to help as many animals in the county as possible.

“It is not any different than a household situation,” Kingsbury said. “Sometimes you have to make cutbacks in a household. If your salary hasn’t increased, the price of everything else has, so you have to make choices. As always, we want to help that next person, but we have to make these hard decisions.”

Kingsbury said although it has been recently announced that the Humane Society of Davidson County is partnering with the City of Lexington to build a dog park, money for that project is coming from state and national grant funding. The programming cuts are for the operational budget of the nonprofit organization, which is raised through donations.

The Humane Society of Davidson County will be holding several fundraisers over the next several months, including bi-monthly events at the PetSmart on Lowe’s Boulevard on Saturdays.

Kingsbury said they will have a booth at a car show at the American Children’s Home on Cotton Grove Road on Saturday. They are also holding a dog show May 27 at the Avante nursing and rehabilitation center on Blair Street in Thomasville.

The organization also accepts donations of pet food and litter. Everhart said they especially need cat food at the moment. For more information, call the Humane Society of Davidson County hotline at (336) 248-2706.

The Humane Society of Davidson County will continue to do what it can with the funding it has left, she continued, but it really needs the support of the community.

“Every little thing helps,” Everhart said. “It is good that we are helping all these animals, but we want to continue to keep doing the work we have been doing. We want to reach as many animals that need us as we can.”

Sharon Myers can be reached at (336) 249-3981, ext. 228, or at Follow Sharon on Twitter: @LexDispatchSM