Town officials not interested in moving animal shelter

Town officials not interested in moving animal shelter

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Members of a committee charged with planning the future new North Providence Animal Shelter are continuing talks about moving it to Notte Park, but town officials say they want to keep the facility where it is.

Town Council President Dino Autiello, who heads up the committee, said he thinks “it’s a good exercise to explore the options,” but he doesn’t see the town moving the shelter to a new location, particularly given the sewer tie-in work previously done at the existing location on Smithfield Road.

“I just think the easier thing is to keep it where it is,” he said.

Ultimately, it will be town officials who decide the location for the shelter, and not the Animal Shelter Committee.

The committee is set to meet tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 5 p.m. in Town Hall, when a “discussion on the proposed shelter” is on the agenda.

A December meeting saw low attendance, with Autiello also absent, but members discussed shelters they’d visited and compared and contrasted what they’d seen during tours.

Autiello said David DeQuattro of RGB Architects met members at Notte Park, where they looked at the stone building that the North Providence Mayor’s Youth Commission currently meets in as a possible location for the shelter. DeQuattro is set to bring information, including renderings of what a shelter could look like there, to Wednesday’s meeting, said Autiello. The softball field at Notte Park has also been discussed as a possible location for the shelter, said Autiello, but he doesn’t see that as feasible based on the needed use of that field for state tournaments, among other factors.

Mayor Charles Lombardi said this week that he also remains opposed to moving the shelter to Notte Park, saying he can’t get behind the disruption that it would bring to existing recreational, community and rental uses in the park, as well as the fact that people frequenting the facility wouldn’t even be allowed to walk the dogs in the surrounding park space.

Autiello agreed that shelter activities would interfere with an increasing number of events and other uses at the park, particularly if the shelter were to be moved more toward the Lincoln town line within the Camp Meehan acreage.

The council president said he’d like to see “realistic expectations” on the shelter. At numerous events, including pasta dinners at the senior highrises, the question he gets asked more than any other is when the animal shelter will be built.

“We just need to get the thing built,” he said. “If moving it is not an option, let’s just build it where it is.”

The Animal Shelter Committee revived planning discussions for a new animal shelter late last year after the completion of the new North Providence Public Safety Complex.

The plan is to use a combination of the Police Department’s remaining winnings from a 2012 settlement with Google, as well as partial funding from neighboring Johnston, which shares the animal shelter, to build a new and improved shelter. It hasn’t been decided yet whether a complete tear-down of the existing dilapidated shelter will be warranted.