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Win-win situation for FOA, Taco Bell

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Bruiser, Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com2 / 6
Tula, Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com3 / 6
This architectural drawing shows the plan for a new Taco Bell, to be located at the old Friends of Animals Humane Society at 1418 Highway 33 S in Cloquet. Taco Bell's site plan will be up for review at the March 14 Planning Commission meeting and likely head to the March 21 Cloquet City Council meeting. Contributed Drawing4 / 6
Corky, Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com5 / 6
Oreo, Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com6 / 6

These adorable cats and dogs are a small sample of the animals available for adoption at the Friends of Animals Humane Society. One-year-old Corky (top left) looks sad lying on his bed and peers hopefully through the bars as people walk by. Bruiser (top right) is a 4-8-year-old male with an ego that is not harmed by being housed in a pink kennel. The gray kitten, Tula (bottom left), loves to cuddle, but is also fun to watch as she leaps and plays with her fellow kittens. Oreo (bottom right), a loving 2-year-old female black and white dog, came from Texas in February. Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com

BREAKOUT BOX : Taco Bell is coming to town

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Taco Bell has been looking for a property in the area off and on since 2012, Cloquet Community Development Director Holly Hansen said last week. They made an offer on the Friends of Animals Humane Society property along the Highway 33 frontage road (1418 Highway 33 S.) and FOA accepted.

The Taco Bell site plan will be up for review at the March 14 Planning Commission meeting and likely head to the March 21 Cloquet City Council meeting from there.

According to Hansen, Taco Bell is planning to begin construction May 1 and will take roughly 100 days to complete the project.

STORY

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Many residents are eagerly anticipating the new Taco Bell restaurant that will be coming to Cloquet in late spring or early summer. The news appeared on the Cloquet Community Development Facebook page last week and had 390 shares.

Taco Bell is buying the Friends of Animals (FOA) Humane Society shelter and will begin knocking the worn-out building down as soon as the last paw has made tracks to the new, updated shelter.

Meanwhile, the renovation at the new FOA building in downtown Cloquet is moving along smoothly with the help of Boldt Construction.

Boldt is acting as advisor by being both under contract to work for the FOA and providing volunteer services of their own as well as coordinating other parties interested in volunteering.

The extreme renovations began at the new site on Avenue B Jan. 23 and selective demolition was done by Feb. 10. The interior wall framing began Feb. 20 and is on schedule with the finish date for interior walls set for March 17.

Boldt is volunteering 10 man hours per week of professional services for about 20 weeks which equals about $15,000 in donated professional services.

"The actual paid work is done by union employees as close to cost as possible," said Shelly Peterson, Boldt executive vice president and general manager of Minnesota operations. Boldt is donating all professional services such as project management, marketing and schedule management.

To this point, the main volunteering done by a contractor has been electricians from Enbridge. Peterson expects other companies to volunteer services and/or supplies as the project moves along.

Sometimes business are not able to perform the volunteer work in the timeframe needed, so they donate cash instead. The contractors who are being paid for the work oftentimes give a discount, she said

"[That] money goes directly to the FOA," Peterson said.

Peterson said Boldt likes to be active in the community where they live and play.

"We use what we are good at," Peterson said. She noted that by helping FOA keep costs down, they are helping the humane society's dream become a reality.

New FOA Executive Director Kimberly Parmeter is excited about the project and the help from the business community and others.

"We want to be debt free," Parmeter said of the ultimate goal of FOA.

Parmeter is happy that they were able to buy five additional lots behind the new shelter. A volunteer has already agreed to donate time and materials to build a nice green space area for potential adoptive owners to spend time with the dogs before taking them home.

The move can't come soon enough. While only two of the original dogs from Texas remain at the shelter, a new group of 13 dogs arrived Feb. 11 from Texas.

"All 30 of our kennels were full," said Parmeter.

The new shelter will offer many new rooms, including three meet-and-greet rooms, two check-up rooms, a surgical suite, an upgraded HVAC system, and — best of all — plenty of space. The new building has more than double the footage of the current location, 12,000 square feet compared to 5,000.

The FOA plans to move sometime in April, beginning with the administrative part of the shelter, followed by supplies and finally the animals.

While a few people have already volunteered to help with the move, more help is needed.

Anybody interested in signing up can visit www.foaonline.org and find the "click here to help" button toward the top of the home page.

"We had over 10,000 sign our guest book in 2016," Parmeter said excitedly.

As soon as the last animal has left the building, Taco Bell is ready to swoop in, demolish it and build a new structure on the prime piece of property along Highway 33.

"Once the FOA got their new building, it helped the dominoes fall into place," Hansen said.

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