Ascension Parish Council considering three sites for animal shelter

Michael Tortorich
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The Ascension Parish Council whittled a list of five potential animal shelter sites down to three during the May 18 meeting in Gonzales.

The current shelter has been run by the nonprofit Companion Animal Rescue of Ascension, also known as CARA's House. The organization has outgrown its location along Airline Highway near Sorrento.

The shelter operation has been funded by a one-mill property tax, which has been collected since 2019.

In a file photo, council members Teri Casso and Chase Melancon listen to a speaker during the Ascension Parish Council meeting held Feb. 2 at the courthouse in Donaldsonville.

The three favored sites from the meeting are all on the east side of the parish between two population centers, Prairieville and Gonzales.

Parish officials have been seeking a site that would have high-visibility and not be prone to flooding problems that could result in evacuations of the shelter during emergencies.

During Hurricane Ida in 2021, animals and equipment had to be moved to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

In looking for a location, the board has engaged Shelter Planners of America and received a needs assessment and conceptual design plan to assist in finding the best site and design for the shelter.

The Animal Services Board has looked into about 15 possible sites. The three final sites will be appraised and surveyed. Wetlands mitigation reports will be needed as well.

Elvis, a playful and adventurous cat, was adopted from Ascension Parish's animal shelter near Sorrento.

The top three sites include:

  • About eight acres along Airline Highway across from the Flea Market of Louisiana, which is between Prairieville and Gonzales.
  • About 14 acres behind the Economy Inn near the intersection of Airline Highway and Roddy Road in Gonzales.
  • About six acres at the corner of Hwy. 44 at Black Bayou Road, north of Gonzales.

The two sites rejected during the meeting were both in the City of Gonzales. One was at 924 E. Hwy. 30 near a mobile home park, while the other was off of Hwy. 44 near the Malco Theater.

During the Feb. 16 meeting, the council voted 7-4 to decline the purchase of a property at 12472 N. Burnside Ave. in Gonzales for $550,000, sending the board back to its search.

The rejected location is north of Airline Highway and just south of Cannon Road, near the Lowe's home improvement store.

Gonzales Weekly Citizen and Donaldsonville Chief, part of the USA Today Network of Louisiana, cover Ascension Parish and the greater Baton Rouge area. Follow at facebook.com/WeeklyCitizen and facebook.com/DonaldsonvilleChief.