LifeStream plan could change animal shelter site | News

LifeStream plan could change animal shelter site | News

Donations keep coming in for a new Citrus County animal shelter.

Its new home, though, could still be up for debate.

It’s like the old commercial about peanut butter and chocolate.

Get more from the Citrus County Chronicle

County officials have learned that LifeStream Behavioral Services, which had planned to build a mental health and addiction treatment center on county property with the jail and new shelter, now is moving the project two miles down the road to the site of the former Centers treatment facility.

Commissioner Jeff Kinnard, who helped spearhead LifeStream’s plans to use 10 acres of county property at the jail site for the mental-health campus, said he expects LifeStream to seek funding from the county to help buy The Centers property.

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Jeff Kinnard

“It’s a great move for them and for the county,” Kinnard said. “Ultimately rather than having the Centers and Lifestream in the county offering similar services, you’ve got LifeStream, who we believe is doing a much better job, continue to expand operations here.”

What that means for the animal shelter is uncertain.

Commissioner Jeff Kinnard took a tour of the Citrus County Animal Shelter on Friday and came…

County commissioners voted 3-2 in May to spend $7 million to $8 million on a new animal shelter on county-owned property near the detention facility. Fundraising efforts, including those led by the Citrus County Chronicle, will provide money for add-ons.

About $235,870 has been raised through donors sending checks to the Chronicle, which turns them over to Commissioner Ruthie Davis Schlabach. The donations include a pair of anonymous $100,000 checks.

Kinnard said he believes the shelter should stay on the county property in Lecanto, but he would be open to discussing moving it to the new proposed LifeStream site.

“I don’t know that they’ve got enough room on that piece of property,” he said. “If they do have the room out there, it would be worth having that conversation. We need to make sure they’ve got ample space to do what they need to do there.”

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Citrus County Commissioner Ruthie Davis Schlabach

Schlabach, who sends thank-you notes to donors, said the shelter should be sited near LifeStream, particularly because of its close proximity to College of Central Florida.

“That would be the perfect scenario if we could do that,” she said.

Schlabach said if it comes to that, she hopes the county can avoid having to buy property for the shelter.

“It would have to be donated. I’m always more about donations,” she said. “There’s a lot of land in that vicinity. There’s some options.”

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