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$1M grant moves new animal shelter closer to reality after delays

Renderings of the new city animal shelter
Posted at 4:34 PM, Sep 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-07 16:34:37-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The new Indianapolis animal shelter is another step closer to reality.

Following a WRTV Investigation that revealed the project is facing delays 2.5 years after it was announced, the Lilly Endowment Inc. announced this week it’s granting $1 million for the shelter.

Friends of Indy Animals received a $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment on top of the $3 million announced last year from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust for the new animal shelter.

The city has committed $18 million to the project, which will be built at Sherman Park — located at N Sherman Dr and E Michigan St, the site of the former RCA plant.

Last month, WRTV Investigates took our questions to Abbey Brands, the new director at Indianapolis Business and Neighborhood Services (BNS), which oversees IACS.

  • WRTV: What's going on with that? Where is the shelter?
  • Brands: Where we are today is just a delay with the site, unfortunately. And I think it’s good to remember that the Sherman Park site is kind of two projects. There’s the larger city project to get the site rehabilitated for reuse and redevelopment and then there’s the project to place the animal shelter there.

The site at Sherman Park is taking longer to remediate than expected.
The city has already spent $5 million remediating the site, however, they need at least another $10 million to make the shelter a reality.

"The city has made two federal funding requests over the last few years and we haven't received any of the funding we applied for unfortunately, so that leaves us in the position of figuring out what options are available to us at this point,” said Brands.

The new center will serve Marion County and benefit the nearly 10,000 animals housed at the shelter each year, according to the city.Friends of Indy Animals, a nonprofit organization that provides vital funding to Indianapolis Animal Care Services, (IACS) is partnering with the City of Indianapolis to find philanthropic partners for the shelter.

“Our work over the years has produced amazing results,” said Jason Larrison, Friends of Indy Animals board chair. “We’ve supported the adoption of thousands of animals. We’ve saved even more lives by aiding the shelter in its efforts to achieve a 90 percent save rate."

Indianapolis Animal Care Services current location has a capacity to hold only 160 animals and can no longer meet the needs of the city’s most vulnerable animals, according to the nonprofit.