2007-01-18 / Front Page

Garage again housing temporary shelter

By Sam Bari

The Town Council sitting as the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners Tuesday night, agreed to allow the garage behind the Town Offices at 44 Southwest Ave. to be used as a temporary animal shelter.

Councilor Barbara Szepatowski has encouraged the town to allow her and a group of volunteers to restore the dilapidated building to usable condition so the town can have a shelter for stray and homeless cats and dogs. The recreation department now stores maintenance equipment in the garage, but it will be moved outside and covered with tarps for the winter to accommodate the shelter.

The property, owned by the town water department, is scheduled to either be used for affordable housing or torn down and sold for development as soon as the town administrative staff moves into the new town hall. The move is scheduled for August of this year when the new town hall is finished. However, due to good weather and planning, the project is ahead of schedule and could be completed earlier.

"I want to emphasize that this is only a temporary situation," cautioned Council President David Long. Councilman William Kelly agreed. He did not want to see anything obstruct progress and get in the way of development when the property became available, he said.

"I strongly encourage you to consider investing your time and money into a more permanent facility," Kelly told Szepatowski. Repairs to the building for use as a shelter would take time, and only a few months of use would be gained from the effort, Kelly said. She understood the time constraints but "right now we have nothing, and this is better than nothing even if it is temporary," Szepatowski said.

Councilman Michael Schnack said that when the property is sold either for development or for use as affordable housing the proceeds should have a positive impact on water department customers, who have supported the facility for years.

In an unrelated matter, Public Works Director Steve Goslee reported that the water system is now working at close to maximum efficiency since all the leaks in the system have been repaired. He noted that in Dec. 2005, the system pumped 195,000 gallons and in Dec. 2006, pumping was reduced to 155,000 gallons. He predicted that the system would consistently run at 98 percent efficiency by 2008. Goslee also reported that both North and South pond reservoirs are filled to capacity.

The board unanimously approved an application for utility service expansion and change of use by Gail and Charles Sheahan for an adult day-care center located at 49 North Main Rd.

An application by Stephen Masso for a utility service connection at 15 Weeden Lane was granted a continuance until the February meeting of the board. An application by Frank Henderson of 27 Luther Street was also granted a continuance at the request of his attorney.

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