HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN)- Hermitage city commissioners voted last week to apply for the Statewide Local Share Assessment grant from the Commonwealth Finance Authority.

It is worth $1 million and would be the money needed to finally break ground on a new building for the Shenango Valley Animal Shelter.

The shelter is over capacity. It serves multiple municipalities in Mercer County.

It is a no-kill shelter and provides animal control services to the county. The new building is essential to being able to efficiently do both roles.

The shelter has been working to raise the money needed since before the pandemic.

Board of Commissioners President Duane Piccirilli said that the circumstances the last few years have put them behind.

“The pandemic absolutely put a damper on our fundraising. so, this grant became available, and we’re asking for support from state representative Mark Longetti and state senator Michelle Brooks,” Piccirilli said.

A new space would not only allow for space for animals to move around and exercise, but will also make it easier to work with local law enforcement.

“It’ll give us a place where the police officers can come in after hours, but when we’re closed and open up like a garage door, bring the animal in, put the animal in a safe run, close it and it’ll be locked up,” Piccirilli said.

The grant is being sought out across the state. Multiple municipalities submitted support letters as part of the grant application to further prove the need for the money.

This would be something that could be accessible to police 24/7.

Another benefit Duane mentioned was that the new building would also have better ventilation and space to quarantine animals that come in sick. Right now, if an animal comes in sick it can very easily spread to other animals in the shelter.

If the Shenango Valley Animal Shelter is awarded the grant, the hope is to break ground on the new facility this year.