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Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


Yonkers plans animal shelter move

Published in THE JOURNAL NEWS, 6/27/06:      

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How to help

People wishing to contribute to the Yonkers Animal Shelter can call the Department of Parks and Recreation at 914-377-6450. Checks, made out to City of Yonkers, can be sent to the Parks Department at 285 Nepperhan Ave., Yonkers, NY 10701.

(Original publication: June 27, 2006)

YONKERS City officials are close to an agreement to relocate the Yonkers Animal Shelter next to a county recycling facility on the New York State Thruway.

For several years the city has looked for a new home for the 46-year-old facility. After consulting aerial maps to identify appropriate properties, Mayor Phil Amicone began talks this year with West-chester County about the Municipal Recovery Facility property across the Thruway from Stew Leonard's.

The location is ideal, officials said. "Animal shelters can be pretty invasive to a community," said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell Tutoni. "There aren't too many parcels (of land) that don't abut a neighborhood."

Officials say the current shelter, at 120 Fullerton Ave., is too small to accommodate the roughly 1,000 animals it handles each year. Animal rights activists praised the proposed location, saying it will bring added visibility that could help increase adoptions. In addition to being near the Thruway, the site is near Stew Leonard's, The Home Depot and Costco, as well as the proposed $600 million Ridge Hill Village project being built up the hill, said Kiley Blackman, a spokeswoman for Animal Defenders of Westchester.

"The idea is to get a little closer to where the action is," Blackman said. "And it will be. It's nice up there."

City officials won't know how much the new shelter will cost until it is designed. In 2004, the City Council approved borrowing $2.3 million for the project, and the Parks Department will commit more than $200,000 earned through licensing fees and other revenue, Tutoni said. The city also has collected a couple thousand dollars in private donations, he said.

However, the city first needs the approval of the Westchester County Board of Legislators and state Legislature.

The site once was parkland, and the state authorization to build the Municipal Recovery Facility requires legislative approval for any other proposed use of the land. The request would need to come from the county.

The project appears to have the support of county legislators, said Legislator Gordon Burrows, a Republican who represents that part of Yonkers.

The county board held off on making the request earlier this month, because it did not have a request from the Yonkers City Council expressing its support for the project.

The City Council appears likely to lend its support, said Councilwoman Dee Barbato, a Republican who represents the area. The council's Municipal Operations Committee, which Barbato chairs, is expected to meet with Tutoni tonight to go over the plans.

The state Legislature is not due back in session until September.

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