Cumberland Times-News

January 20, 2013

Legislative delegation reduces local bond bill

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Members of the District 1 legislative delegation cut a local bond bill request to improve the chances of getting money for the Friends Aware building project and for plans to build a new animal shelter.

“Last year’s requests made it more difficult (to obtain funding),” said Delegate Wendell Beitzel. The delegation made requests for Allegany Museum and Friends Aware during the 2012 legislative session.

Delegation members agreed to scale back the Friends Aware request to $500,000 for the current General Assembly session. Beitzel said last year’s requests made the local delegation’s bond bill requests among the highest in the state.

The delegation consists of Beitzel, Sen. George Edwards and Delegates LeRoy Myers Jr. and Kevin Kelly. The Friday delegation meeting took place in Annapolis.

Friends Aware Inc. was seeking $1.34 million and the Allegany County Animal Shelter Management Foundation is seeking $250,000.

Edwards has warned that obtaining such funds will be unlikely.

“The reality is you’re not going to get $1.34 million for a project. The likelihood of getting that is slim to none. ... We need to be truthful here,” Edwards said in December. “We will get you as much money as possible.”

In state bond bills for 2012, Allegany Museum received $150,000 and Friends Aware received $250,000. Legislators had requested a total of $634,000 in state bond funds for Friends Aware and $350,000 for the museum.

Friends Aware is beginning a major building project. The project is expected to cost $2 million, organization leaders have said.

About $400,000 would be needed to make the building handicapped-compliant.

About 60 percent of the funds would go to new construction and 40 percent to renovation. The current building lacks a sprinkler system.

A complete renovation and addition to the organization’s Life Enrichment Center on Holland Street is planned.

The organization offers residential, vocational and day services to people with intellectual disabilities and currently serves about 180 individuals.

The Allegany County Animal Shelter Management Foundation is raising funds for a new animal shelter, expected to cost $2.5 million.

The foundation has announced a campaign to construct an 11,000-square-foot adoption and care facility near the site of the current animal shelter.

In February, after concluding a six-month search for a location, the foundation retained award-winning animal care facility architects Stoiber & Associates.

When complete, the complex would be capable of housing approximately 103 dogs and 120 cats indoors in modern multipurpose facilities designed to aid the adoption process and improve working conditions for volunteers and staff.   

Phase one of the project is planned to make 7,700 square feet of the new facility operational during 2013. This largest portion of the project will house dog and cat adoption areas and is projected to cost $1.5 million.   

Phase two will be a 3,300-square-foot extension of the building that is planned to provide critical care facilities for animals that need special medical attention.

The cost of this phase is estimated at $900,000.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at