Cumberland Times-News

December 9, 2012

Friends Aware, animal shelter, seek bond funds

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Two local organizations are seeking the help of local legislators in a quest for state bond funds for capital projects. Allegany County commissioners gave their blessings to the requests last week during a meeting with members of the District 1  delegation.

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

Sen. George Edwards warned that obtaining such funds were 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.

The senator wanted to make sure the organizations had realistic expectations about funding.

Commission President Michael McKay said the organizations were aware of the situation.

“We will get you as much money as possible,” Edwards said.

Politics also plays a role in obtaining the bond funds, especially budget votes at the end of each legislative session.

Edwards said that if all the members of the delegation vote for the budget, it’s more likely that funding can be obtained; if some vote for the budget and other against, the amount of bond funds headed to District 1 would likely decline.

Those organizations seeking bond funds have two minutes to present their request to legislators, said Delegate Wendell Beitzel.

“Be brief, concise and to the point,” Beitzel advised commissioners to explain to the organization’s leaders.

Friends Aware is making its second request for state bond funds. Friends Aware is beginning a major building project. The project was expected to cost $2 million, organization leaders have said.

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

Of the rest of the funds, about 60 percent 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 multi-purpose 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 needing special medical attention.

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

During the session of 2012, Allegany Museum received $150,000  and Friends Aware received $250,000, said County Administrator David Eberly.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.