Donations and proceeds from numerous chili suppers and 5-mile walk fundraisers generated $85,936.71 to help pay for the new building.

After donating nearly $86,000 for its construction, the Boonville community continued to show support for the new Boonville Animal Shelter at its grand opening Wednesday afternoon.

Dozens came to show support, and cars were parked along Morgan Street from the new building up to Huebert Fiberboard. After a ribbon cutting, the new shelter was opened up for the community to tour, and the crowd filed in to see the result of years of planning and fundraising.

Animal Control Officer Becky Keeran said she and Pam Paxton just started moving into the new building. There were two dogs and two cats in the shelter on Wednesday, with plenty of room for more.

Keeran said she likes everything about the new space, and that she’s grateful to everyone who supported the project. The new building has plenty of storage space, which the old building lacked. The new space is also much bigger, she said.

Since then-Mayor Julie Thatcher asked the community to raise $50,000 to help pay for the new facility, individual donations and proceeds from numerous chili supper and 5-mile walk fundraisers generated $85,936.71, said Mayor Ned Beach.

The city paid the remaining $250,000 out of it’s gaming revenue fund, said Assistant City Administrator Kate Fjell. The Isle of Capri Casino also contributed directly, donating $20,000 towards the effort in 2017.

“You have never done anything more fun than chase down dogs, good dogs, but they have no idea where they’re supposed to be, until you do that with Pam,” Beach said. “I had that experience more than once. Fortunately it was never one of my dogs, and it was fun. She knows what she’s doing.”

John Baker, executive director of the Community Foundation of Central Missouri, whose Boonville arm organized fundraising for the shelter, said the project shows what the community can do when it comes together behind a big plan. When the community has needs, people can get together to talk about them and dream up big solutions.

The Community Foundation could partner with more people to help make those “dreamy things” happen, he said. The shelter is the third example of that since Baker took his role, he said. the foundation also supported the Cancer Memorial Park on the Kemper Campus and the first phase of the Katy Bridge rehabilitation, he said.

bcrowley@gatehousemedia.com