After being awarded a long-awaited state grant of $500,000 toward the cost of a brand-new shelter, daughter of shelter founder Marie Post and founder of the new Saugerties Animal Welfare Fund Adele Zinderman insists that all donated monies toward the total $1.8 million structure’s cost will go toward their intended purpose, despite a severe dip in donations that cover the living and surgical expenses of animals housed at the facility.
Zinderman said this week that she was reticent to post the good news on social media initially, but that people were “thankful for good news despite the coronavirus.”
“You do hesitate at a time when everybody is involved with this coronavirus. This is such a good thing, do you want this to be a part of what they’re feeling right now,” she said Tuesday. “But when I posted this last night, so many people were glad to hear this park of renewal while this is happening.”
Zinderman said as of now, a groundbreaking for the new building is scheduled for May, but may be moved into June if stay-in-place orders are still in effect.
Last year, town officials missed the opportunity to tap into a grant that would help fund a new building for the Saugerties Animal Shelter, but town officials said they would try again this year. But that opportunity has been deleted from the state budget, drying up a potential funding source for the project.
“I felt like I should get a master’s degree, I felt like I did a thesis for the grant and the shelter plans,” joked Zinderman. “I had a fantastic committee.” Other members of the committee include grant writer Kathleen Kearnan, architect Laura Cassar, town supervisor Fred Costello Jr. and Rich Praetorius.
In January, the source Companion Animal Capital Fund was not included in the governor’s executive budget for the first time since the fund’s conception. Five million dollars were allocated to the fund in 2018 and 2017; 25 shelters throughout the state received grants worth between $100,000 and $500,000 over the past two years through the fund. Meanwhile, shelter officials say, the Saugerties facility is a repurposed garage with a leaky roof, dysfunctional septic tank, porous floors, significant mold and inadequate facilities for the animals’ needs. This week, the shelter was awarded the $500,000 from the fund, a large chunk of the new shelter’s anticipated total cost. Alongside some $400,000 for the project will be sourced from the estate of the late Mary Bradford, an animal lover who was close friends with Marie Post, a little over half of the funding is accounted for. Zinderman said that about $15,000 had been raised over the last year via Facebook, and about $1,000 had been raised through small boxes left at 10 businesses throughout the town.
The structure is planned to be approximately 4,100 square feet with an additional 2,800 square feet for dog kennels and quarantine areas, and will be relocated to have a separate entrance from the town’s transfer station. The schematic includes a two-story cat-climbing space, a lobby, a covered exterior dog run and a “catio.” There will also be a grooming room, a food preparation room, a kitten room adjoined to a free-roaming cat room, a wildlife room, a cat condo area, separate cat and dog quarantine areas and staff and office space. There will be two “community rooms” that can be used for staff meetings or classes, like kitten-fostering demonstrations. It will have two floors, and an elevator.
To help raise the remaining money for the project, Zinderman is still accepting donations brought to town hall at 4 High St.; checks can be made out to the Saugerties Animal Welfare Fund. Naming opportunities are also available: for $75,000, an individual can name the lobby in honor of a deceased or honored friend or family member; for $25,000, the meet-and-greet room can be so dedicated. Engraved bricks, sold for $100 and $200 depending on size, engraved benches for $500 and dog walking trails for $2,500 are also available. To purchase a dedicated item, or to ask questions about the shelter or other room-naming opportunities, email Zinderman at Bobzind@aol.com.