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Funding of Attleboro Projects Gets Big Support

Nobody speaks in opposition to the city acquiring loans for an upgrade to the high school's athletic complex and a new animal shelter.

Attleboro Mayor Kevin Dumas wants the city to seek loans of $1.116 million to construct a new animal shelter and $3.55 million to upgrade Attleboro High School's athletic complex. More than 100 people were at City Hall Tuesday night to tell the City Council they support the proposals.

Public hearings took place Tuesday on the two loan requests as well as a third one for $1.523 million to upgrade a municipal water treatment plant computer system. The council heard from several proponents, no opponents and one person who said he was concerned about the price of the animal shelter, but stressed he was not against the project.

Kim Penque, president of the Friends of the Attleboro Animal Shelter, spoke about various planned features for the new facility that she said would protect the health and well-being of the animals. She said this includes air purification systems, separate quarantine areas, centralized cleaning and sanitation systems, larger kennels, adequate space for socialization, separate adoption rooms for families to meet animals as well as proper lighting and security

"We're not seeking to build the Taj Mahal, as we've heard," Penque said. "We are simply seeking to build a shelter that is adequate for our needs today and that will fully function for our community tomorrow."

Penque read the names of approximately 90 people who were in attendance that supported the project, but chose not to speak so the hearing would not continue into early Wednesday. The council did hear from several other project advocates, including former Councilor Roxanne Houghton. 

Among the features of the athletic complex upgrade are replacing the deteriorated track and changing the grass field to a synthetic surface. The track is in such a bad condition that Attleboro High has been unable to host meets for several years.

"Our student athletes at Attleboro High School have endured without a track and with an athletic field that is limited in usage," said Dennis Walsh, the city's recreation director as well as a parent of current and former Attleboro High athletes. "For years now, our kids have salivated when visiting other schools with updated facilities."

The council also heard from project advocates affiliated with the school district such as Attleboro High principal Bill Runey and School Committee member Chris O'Neil as well as those associated with local youth sports programs that use the high school facility and the Special Olympics, which wants to return to the school.

The councilors kept mostly quiet during the public hearings. A few asked clarifying questions and they applauded on occasion. They will speak, probably in-depth, next Tuesday when the panel votes on the funding requests. 

Gretchen Robinson January 16, 2013 at 09:08 AM
James, this is well-written. It gives the highlights of the meeting and captures the flavor of the evening. Kim Penque did an excellent job at speaking and of marshalling people who attended. I really liked that she had everyone's name and asked us to stand by wards so Councilors could see the support for the shelter. That was a powerful moment. An energized constituency like this is a definite plus for Attleboro. It may pay off with some participants entering public service themselves. Also adding to their voices in support were Roxanne Houghton and Marilyn Shearer speaking on behalf a new shelter. Roxanne was praised and thanked by CC Walter Thibidoux for her work years ago as a City Councilor herself. Roxanne and many others in Attleboro and beyond have worked hard for years advocating for the need for a new shelter. They all all the volunteers, present and past, deserve the community's thanks for their efforts to help Attleboro step up and take responsibility to help dogs and cats who are abandoned or lost. I hope within the year we have a shelter in place that all of Attleboro can be proud of.
Kim Penque January 16, 2013 at 03:30 PM
What an honor to stand up and be a voice! Today’s Animal Shelters are much different than they were 30 plus years ago when our current shelter was built. The days of the “Dog Pound” and the “Dog Catcher” are long gone and it’s time Attleboro moves toward the future and provide a new Shelter that will accommodate the needs of our community today and for years to come. A new Animal Shelter is more than just a building and very different than a residential design. It is a home (although temporary) it is a home to Attleboro’s animals in need. The combination of animal behavior, disease control and noise control make building an Animal Shelter much different than a building we may see in an Industrial park, and definitely not comparable to the homes we reside in. Animal problems affect everyone, from the stray and abandoned to the neglected and abused. Attleboro’s animals need the basic amenities to keep them safe, healthy and mentally stimulated while they prepare for their next step in life. The new shelter will allow us to provide the environment that promotes and protects the health and well-being of the animals in our care. Each council member has the opportunity to make this dream a reality. Each one has the chance to make a difference. I am many others who attended last night urge the Council to vote yes and approve the bond for the new Shelter on January 22nd and make that choice to make a difference!
paul January 16, 2013 at 06:49 PM
No one would dare speak out against the animal retirement mansion for fear of having a dead carcass tossed onto their property and be called animal hater forever by the permanent volunteer animal shelter squaters. I hope it gets built so every stray dog & cat can be kept alive forever no matter what the cost. The shelter should also have a bunkhouse so PETA can be on hand 24/7 in case someone decides to try and put down a sick animal.
Gretchen Robinson January 16, 2013 at 07:43 PM
sour grapes with a frosting of lies/distortions it's clear that you know nothing about animal care in shelters, the goal of finding loving homes for them, and the regrettable necessity, at times, to euthanize an animal. Please know that most in Attleboro would disagree with the dystopia that exists only in your mind.
paul January 16, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Sour grapes? LOL, this whole animal shelter charade is exactly the way our government is running at every level. The tax payers keep paying more & more and now we are busted but the animal shelters are going up around here like every city & town hit the lottery. I'm glad you got your shelter, I hope you all end up living in it.
Muriel Reilly January 16, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Let's hope this guy doesn't actually have any pets.
Justme January 16, 2013 at 09:26 PM
What is another word for Donkey?? Yeah...Paul reminds me of ONE!!!
Gretchen Robinson January 16, 2013 at 09:28 PM
paul, your harsh wish that we all end up "living in it" indeed shows your original comment was and contnues to be 'sour grapes'
Gretchen Robinson January 16, 2013 at 09:29 PM
can we do without name calling...
Amy January 16, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Has anyone seen this article yet? Patrick Looks to Raise $1 Billion in Income Taxes! Isnt that awesome? So state taxes will be going up next. Of course we're not done raising federal taxes, then along comes Obama Care. Oh! and this new state tax hike is for transportation which means higher train fare and of course they'll need to raise the parking rates. I DO WANT Attleboro to have a better animal shelter just not a $multimillion. I want kids to have decent fields but I still thing over 3 million for fake grass is nuts.
Gretchen Robinson January 16, 2013 at 09:53 PM
why is it that some people never time of playing the 'ain't it awful game'? Or as the old song put it, "Everything's wrong and nothing ain't right." I'd go crazy if I had to worry 24/7 about all the wrongs in the area. You know what Amy, 900 people have been killed by guns since the Newtown shootings. Why not complain about that. Why not try to DO something about that??
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) January 16, 2013 at 11:00 PM
"No one would dare speak out against the animal retirement mansion for fear of having a dead carcass tossed onto their property and be called animal hater forever by the permanent volunteer animal shelter squaters." ... Paul, where on Earth is that coming from? Is there an example of something like this happening in Attleboro?
Dolly January 22, 2013 at 11:50 PM
There is $800,000. of debt service being retired this year. That's a loan of more than $10,000,000. These three projects if bonded for 12 years will total approximately less than $700,000. in debt service at current rates. However, rates may change within the time it takes to go to bond. Still, it's predicted that it will not be as high as the debt being retired. No increase in taxes due to THESE three projects. Taxes will always go up within the prop 2 1/2 % allowed.
Jerry Chase January 27, 2013 at 06:49 PM
I appreciate Paul's courage to present a different point-of-view, no matter how unpopular with some.

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