Vet clinic, dog park planned at former garden center

A veterinary clinic plans to open this fall at the former Wischmeier Garden Center on Jonesville Road that will feature a dog park.

Columbus resident Rick Chaille, a veterinarian, plans to open the clinic at 240 Jonesville Road by September after purchasing the property earlier this year. Chaille Veterinary Services LLC bought nearly 5 acres in February for $475,000, said Jennifer Johnson, deputy assessor with the Bartholomew County Assessor’s Office.

Chaille said he plans to sell 1½ acres of the property for future development while keeping the remaining acreage for the veterinary clinic and dog park. Wischmeier Nursery, Garden Center and Gift Shop closed last July after 31 years in operation.

Chaille, who proposed subdividing the Wischmeier property to create one new lot, received approval Wednesday from the Columbus Plan Commission to waive a requirement to install a sidewalk along the front of the new lot along Jonesville Road.

Chaille, who began his veterinary career at the Franklin Animal Clinic in 1978, operated his own clinic in Anderson for 30 years before selling it in 2011. Health issues resulted in him stepping away from practicing full-time since that time, he said.

However, he has worked with the Bartholomew County Humane Society over the past year assisting with the spaying and neutering of animals and feels now is a good time to get back into the veterinary business, Chaille said.

Chaille said he plans the business to be a surgical practice, although the extent of services that will be offered has not been finalized.

The main building that will serve as the veterinary clinic is being renovated, while some former buildings on the property have been torn down, Chaille said. A dog park will be available for public use and should open within the next month, he said.

There will be no charge to use the dog park, although Chaille said he would like to partner with the Humane Society and the city’s Animal Care Services to help monitor use of the site.

Columbus Plan Commission member Zack Ellison said while he supports the property being redeveloped, the construction of a $30 million railroad overpass over the State Road 46/State Road 11 intersection west of downtown may impact the business.

“I think it will be a good location depending on the final design of the overpass,” Ellison said. “I couldn’t think of a better use than a veterinary clinic.”

Chaille has two sons who are also veterinarians — Jack, in Franklin, and James, in Seymour.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or