MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Officials officially broke ground Friday at the site of the brand new Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare.
The 10-acre site off Fulton Mill Road in southwest Bibb County is much different than the shelter's current location, which is right next to the city's landfill.
"The animal facility that we currently have is just dilapidated and run down and to move into the 21st century, it's just not an appropriate facility," says chairman of the Bibb County Commission, Sam Hart.
Some residents were against an animal shelter going up in their neighborhood.
"But once they come down and see the renderings and see exactly what's going to happen--they're going to have a walking trail, and they're going to have a dog park out here also," says county commissioner Joe Allen. "Plus, it's far enough off the road, and it's going to be top-of-the-line."
Officials want the community to know this $3 million project wouldn't be possible without the penny tax.
"We were fortunate in that we already had some land with the Industrial Development Authority--10 acres here," says Hart. "So we can spend $3 million toward construction."
Shelter director Sarah Tenon says this day has been a long time coming.
"The capacity that we have now is between 60 and 80," says Tenon. "In the new shelter, we'll be able to hopefully house between 130 and 138, but the conditions for that number are going to be far, far better than where we are now."
Tenon says the facility should be up and running by this time next year.