City Commissioners approved a contract for the next phase of the design/build plan for the new animal shelter during their virtual meeting Thursday.

The design/build contract is for the development, design and construction of a new animal adoption center, and was awarded to Berry and Clay Construction of Rusk.

Rick Berry, of the construction group, along with City Manager Mark Rohr and City Attorney Scott Rectenwald spoke on the item during the meeting.

The contract has an amendment that a guaranteed maximum price for the project will be determined once the design drawings are completed.

Rohr said that this, along with an additional safe guard that would require the construction company to pay $1,000 every day that they go over the timeline, the city hopes to avoid issues they faced with the construction of Memorial City Hall.

“We are hoping to avoid cost overruns and an open ended timeline for the completion of the project,” Rectenwald said.

Rohr said that this agenda item was step seven of the original 10-step plan for the shelter that he presented to the commission last year.

He also explained that while the next step is for the construction company to begin the design process, a large portion of that process including the floor and site plans for the project have already been completed.

After the contract is signed, which Rohr said would likely be today, the company has two months from that date to work on the design aspect. After two months the project will be brought back before city commissioners for approval, and once it is given approval construction will last for eight months.

Rohr said that the expect to go back to the commission for approval and begin construction in September 2020.

At the meeting

Two second readings of ordinances were also approved during the meeting without changes made since their last readings on June 11.

The first ordinance approved was for a 3-acre tract of land located at 2810 North East End Boulevard. The amendment changed the property zoning from a single family detached to agriculture and estate. Bobby Pierce, of Marshall, is the property owner and applicant.

The second ordinance approved is regarding an almost 1-acre tract of land located at 316 Murphy Drive.

The amendment changed the zoning on the property from planned development to duplex, triplex, quadraplex. Rhett Skinner of Marshall is the property owner and applicant.

Wayne Hunter spoke to Commissioners on item during the meeting. Hunter also addressed commissioners during the last ordinance reading to speak out against the ordinance change.

Hunter lived on Murphy and said that he is concerned over the increase in traffic and safety of the neighborhood with this zoning change.

“I am opposed to the rezoning, and I would like if nothing else, to have commissioners visit this property and see what is going on over here before the rezoning is done,” Hunter said.

Tommy Shirley, also spoke against the rezoning ordinance during the meeting. Shirley lives on Murphy, next door to the property and expressed similar concerns to Hunter.

Commissioners Larry Hurta and Marvin Bonner voted to table and the ordinance until commissioners were able to visit the property. However, all other commissioners present voted against tabling the item.

The motion then passed unanimously.