VIENNA - Area officials will be digging in at the new Animal Welfare League shelter at 10 a.m. Monday, and not in search of bones like their canine friends.
The ceremonial ground-breaking at the old Thunderplex building on Youngstown Kingsville Road has been long awaited.
"This is an exciting chapter for the Animal Welfare League. It's been a 40-plus- year saga getting to this point," said Ned Gold, the pro bono attorney for the AWL for 30 years and a member of its board since 2004.
He said he has seen the efforts of numerous dedicated volunteers poured into the league to bring it to its current position, making the new center a reality.
The approximately 47,000 square feet of space and more than 20 acres of land were purchased in 2012 for $550,000. Renovations began in early 2013 and have included laying new electric wiring and plumbing and pouring 500 square yards of concrete foundations.
It is set to open in late August.
The new $4.5 million facility will hold 250 animals, including cats and dogs, in 3,900 square feet of kennel space. This far exceeds the current shelter, which only holds 25 dogs.
It also will house a training center in partnership with Kent State University that will give students hands-on training while earning their degrees as two-year certified veterinarian technicians. A pet supply store and library will be part of the center as well.
In partnership with the Trumbull County Community Foundation, the league continues to raise funds to cover the construction costs. Once the shelter is up and running, it will be supported by training classes, the pet store and money from the county to care for the animals.
The AWL of Trumbull County was established in 1969 as nonprofit organization and has been operating a shelter since 1984.
It offers humane investigations, an around-the-clock emergency rescue team and obedience classes, among other services.