OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City voters shattered records for approval of a MAPS initiative with 72% voting in favor of MAPS 4.
The measure includes $38 million in funding for a new animal shelter, among a variety of initiatives for neighborhood improvement, sports and entertainment, transportation, and human needs.
By voting to pass MAPS 4, voters committed to a one-cent, eight-year sales tax, which will commence collection on April 1.
“This is the start of a new, more humane chapter for animals in our city,” said Louisa McCune, Education Director for PAWS for MAPS 4, a grassroots citizens group that led the public-interest campaign to include a new animal shelter in the slate of MAPS 4 projects. “This is a big step toward eliminating needless euthanasia by creating more capacity, more efficiency in design, and a more welcoming environment for all shelter visitors, which will greatly improve the adoption rate.”
Jonathan Gary, Superintendent of Animal Welfare for the City of Oklahoma City, heralded the moment.
“So much has been done by our dedicated staff, volunteers, and caring citizens to improve outcomes for animals in our city over the last decade,” Gary said. “But we were severely limited by the building we inhabited. This new building will be a game changer for our city.”
According to Gary, the new shelter will feature more and larger cages, a welcoming reception for visitors, an enhanced veterinary facility, dual entrances to ensure safe and healthy animals are not sharing an entrance with sick and nuisance animals, a park-like setting, and much more.
“So much has been learned about shelter design over the last few years,” McCune said. “Unfortunately, a lot of what we have learned shines a light on what just isn’t right with our existing facility, from plumbing and venting to layout. We’re grateful we live in a city where voters demand more from their city and expect better for our animals.”
The timeline for MAPS projects is expected to be set in Spring or Summer 2020.
For more information on MAPS 4 projects, visit www.okc.gov/government/maps-4.