By BOB OLIVER
DEARBORN – The Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter has been working to raise money and complete plans for constructing a new facility to move into in 2014. Now it is closer to having the location agreed upon by the city.
During a briefing session Thursday, city administrators, the city council and representatives from the FFDAS met to discuss the pros and cons of two pieces of land that the FFDAS has been looking into setting up its new facility on.
One location is the parcel of land that houses the Amtrak station, 16121 Michigan Ave., behind the 19th District Courthouse, and the other is directly behind Henry Ford Centennial Library.
The city has made a commitment of $1 million to the shelter, with $400,000 of that being land given to house the facility.
City officials have said they like the idea of the FFDAS using the train station because they would like to see the parcel put to use after Amtrak moves to the Intermodal Passenger Rail Station when it opens in 2014.
The site behind HFCL could then be used for either future development or a city dog park where residents could bring their animals.
FFDAS President Laurie Buhr said the FFDAS recognized that the city had an interest in donating the train station parcel over the library parcel and that the FFDAS accepted that.
“Based on the information that we have received from architects who evaluated the two sites, the project is definitely doable at the Amtrak station,” Buhr said. “We are just happy to have a site.”
Council President Thomas Tafelski said the council and administration needed to finalize which location the city was ready to donate and then write up another memorandum of understanding between the city and the FFDAS so that the project could be moved forward and the workers and volunteers at the shelter could have a definite location to pitch while raising money for the project.
The city council would have to vote to authorize the mayor to sign the new memorandum of understanding with FFDAS. The council meets on Dec. 17.
O’Reilly and FFDAS Executive Director Elaine Greene signed a memorandum of understanding last year.
The FFDAS has a goal to raise $5.7 million for the project, with about $4 million of that going toward the construction of a new facility.
There also are expected costs associated with fundraising and contingencies that are estimated at $800,000 and an extra $500,000 for an endowment to support ongoing operations at the shelter.
The last $400,000 is the prospective cost of the land on which the shelter will be built, but this land has been pledged to the shelter by the city.
The FFDAS throws more than 40 fundraising events annually for operational costs and has raised just over $3 million for the new shelter.
The current shelter, at 2661 Greenfield Road, is a 4,000-square-foot facility that housed 2,789 dogs and cats last year, with an average daily population of 50 dogs and 132 cats and an additional 103 total animals in foster care.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected])