The new animal shelter is now “well past” the 50-per-cent fundraising mark needed to make the facility a reality, thanks to a $50,000 donation by the Howard J. Rees Foundation July 12.
“This donation demonstrates not only the deep community support for the new shelter but also the ongoing generosity of the late Dr. Rees through his foundation,” Art Stirling, co-chair of the Friends of the new Animal Shelter, said in a release. “We have more fundraising ahead of us and we continue to celebrate both large and small gifts. This is truly a community-wide project.”
The foundation, created in 1992, was established to support the arts, health and education. It has provided scholarships, supported medical needs and was a major factor in the expansion of the Gable Rees Rotary Pool.
Lynn McGeachy, project co-ordinator, said construction of the shelter goes far beyond its primary purpose of providing a safe, humane building for animals in distress.
“The building will have a community room which will play a role in teaching animals care and act as a community resource,” she said in a release. “Animals play such an important role in people’s lives, as companions.”
Chatham-Kent council has pledged a total of $500,000 over this year and next to help defray the cost, which has been estimated at between $1.5 and $2 million.
Construction of the new shelter should begin next spring across from the current facility on Park Avenue East, a 40-year-old municipally owned structure that outlived its usefulness.
When the new facility is completed, it will be turned over to the municipality.