Animal shelter

Evanston Animal Shelter seeks funding for expansion of its facilities


When Vicky Pasenko became Executive Director of the Evanston Animal Shelter in 2015, the existing facility had some shortcomings. Namely, it was too small: 2,750 square feet was not enough space to accommodate more than 570 animals per year.

His team were committed to overcoming any obstacle – but Pasenko said last summer marked a point of no return.

A three and a half week period without air conditioning in 90 degree weather puts animals at risk. During this time, Pasenko realized that the team needed to modernize the building quickly.

“We just can’t go on this way,” Pasenko said.

The building was originally intended to house a small population of animals for a short time, resorting to euthanasia when there were too many people. Now, the organization is seeking funds to build a new facility that can better fulfill its goals as an open, deathless shelter.

The installation also does not comply with the building code and industry standards for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The shelter must expand before the HVAC system can receive the necessary upgrades.

Redevelopment activities are not new. Before the Evanston Animal Shelter Association took over shelter operations in 2015, the city signed an agreement with the former operator, Community Animal Rescue Effort, to expand the facilities of the refuge. Bureaucratic obstacles delayed the project.

The shelter has already secured a $ 2 million grant from the Cook County Animal Shelter Grant Program and plans to raise $ 1 million on its own to add to the redevelopment funds.

The shelter pleaded for the allocation of municipal funds to the project during the city council on Monday evening. Although the association manages the refuge, the city owns and maintains the facility.

According to a report from city staff, the total cost of the project could be between $ 5.5 million and $ 10 million, which means the city is expected to provide funding of at least $ 2.5 million.

At the meeting, Lara Biggs, head of the Office of Engineering and Capital Planning said city funds could help fill existing gaps in buildings, including the lack of medical isolation spaces and the lack of natural light.

Shane Cary, architect and public works project manager, broke down the three different options, called “tiers,” for the redevelopment of the facilities.

The first tier, ranging from $ 5.5 million to $ 6.5 million, would be a basic building plan with all the upgrades needed to meet city standards. Level two, the total cost of which ranges from $ 6 million to $ 7.1 million, would also include increased capacity of shelters to medically treat animals in an on-site operating theater.

“This expansion of medical facilities would reduce the ongoing costs the Evanston Animal Shelter would have to have,” Cary said. “It would also provide the possibility of community sterilization, sterilization and vaccination programs. ”

In public comments, Kristi Bachmann, president of the city’s Animal Welfare Council, stressed that these programs are important for managing the stray cat populations in Evanston.

“Currently, there is no room for these cats while they wait for surgery and recover afterward,” Bachmann said.

Terry said level three, the most expensive option with up to $ 10 million in costs, would include additional space for volunteers. Before the pandemic, around 175 people volunteered, according to the city staff report.

There are also several ways for the new shelter to meet the city’s sustainability goals, including making the facility zero carbon. Still, Cary said meeting the goals of the climate action plan and resilience in an animal shelter presents obstacles.

“An animal shelter doesn’t have the ability, like an office building, to shut down and not use energy overnight,” Cary said. “There’s a lot of cleaning to do, and it’s energy too. “

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) has raised concerns about the shelter association’s ability to fully raise $ 1 million on its own to help fund the project.

But Pasenko told The Daily that the shelter is confident in its ability to raise funds. According to the staff report, the association only receives $ 100,000 per year from the city. Pasenko said the rest of the organization’s funding is already coming from fundraising, which gives the team a basic understanding of the process.

Despite concerns about fundraising, board members and shelter staff agreed on the importance of increasing funding for the shelter.

Shelter staff and volunteers distributed nearly 35,000 pounds of free pet food in 2020 and provided 1,549 days of care for 23 animals, intended for pet owners facing financial hardship or illness. .

Resident Sherry Carpenter said the shelter treated her cat and two dogs after a fire in her apartment.

“I don’t know what I would have done without their help,” Carpenter said. “It was a lifeline for my pets and for me.”

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @JorjaSiemons

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