Kittens & Puppies in desperate need? Is compelling. I completely agree that the community needs to support animal welfare.
However, I am not going to try to pull your heartstrings with such visceral images, but rather, I want to appeal to our collective common sense of fiscal responsibility and restraint.
I hope that no one believes that if we postpone this project and revise it to something more within our communal means that our pet friends will not continue to receive the care they need. This does not have to be an emergency as some would like you to believe.
It seems that the marketing for this exorbitantly expensive shelter has convinced Evanston Animal Shelter Association supporters that spending responsibly for this project is somehow in opposition to building a new shelter.
I am a serial dog-lover (we have two and are currently hosting two others), and I am also in favor of a new animal shelter but, I am appealing to you for transparency and accountability to taxpayers for responsible spending of our community treasure … this project as presented, just plainly costs too much.
This bids have already risen to $8 million, that’s $1,000 per square foot (we surely should expect a $10 million plus final cost given the record of other recent civic projects like this). Talk to any architect and they will tell you something just isn’t right.
I also believe that accepting this bid for $1,000 plus per-square-foot sets a very dangerous precedent for future projects undertaken in the community and more financial pain later.
Evanston prides itself on being a socially responsible and diverse community that values social justice, equity, and affordable housing … these qualities diminish if the cost of living here becomes unsustainable and our diversity is undermined.
I hope that together with Evanston Animal Shelter Association supporters, the community can ensure this project moves forward but in a more fiscally responsible and transparent way.
It would be great for Evanston Animal Shelter Association supporters to also insist on this.
There is no emergency to approve a contract that is out of control and to proceed hastily. Please pause and regroup. Please also consider offering a bigger forum by asking the community for their best ideas for this project.
It’s my understanding that the Friends of the Animal Shelter have pledged to raise $1 million. How much has been raised to date? Not just pledges, but money in the bank.
Should we start this project without the community weighing in with all the facts and without meaningful funding in place? Otherwise, the vocal minority will create a situation where, once again, the taxpayers will be holding the bag.
Why doesn’t each council member send detailed information to their constituents and later, follow up with a poll?
Brian G. Becharas
Letter writer neglected to mention the $2 million grant that Cook County is giving towards this project.
Letter writer also neglected the fact that the City Council has already had the debates, with plenty of public input on both sides, about which building plan to purse for the shelter (e.g., LEED certification level, size, etc.). How exactly is that lacking in “transparency”?
The real issue is inflation, building costs, and the fact that it has taken the city literally YEARS to give final approval. How much slower does the letter writer want them to go? In the meantime, building prices keep going up. Is inflation disappearing (or in fact, reversing) anytime soon?
Finally, I would invite letter writer to volunteer at the shelter so he can see that we are actually in desperate need for a new building. It is not a ploy to cheat people out of their tax dollars (I pay property taxes in Evanston and am one of many unpaid volunteers for the shelter). The HVAC fails (and is repaired, and fails again) constantly in the summer. There are no windows in the cinder-block building for backup ventilation. The kennel often floods. It’s not fun to be washing dozens of water and food bowls, in a kitchen smaller than that of most studio apartments, while others are preparing meals for all of animals. There is just one small adoption room for the whole place (cats and dogs). All of the above causes us to lose out on adopters and volunteers. It’s a cramped, crumbling place, and both the pets and people of Evanston deserve better.
I couldn’t agree more with Brian. The City always has to balance cost vs. benefits in any project. I guess I am old -fashioned but I have always felt humans came before the pets they love and care for. Why not have a competition among young Evanston-based architects and builders for a new AFFORDABLE shelter design that would be responsible and fulfill the needs. Reused materials, teen apprentices involved in the construction, bricks or boards contributed by Evanstonians in memory of a beloved pet; the possibilities are endless. Let’s do this the Evanston way!
This isn’t a kindergarten art project, Mary. Would you want to live in a structure built with inexperience and hand-me-down materials? The “Evanston way” is progressive, green, sustainable, and most livable, right? Too many of the city’s facilities are literally crumbling. Let’s support the investment in a plan primed to get it right the first time.
This all makes good sense and I hope all involved with do as suggested. The cost is simply too high for the finished product. Take your time and due your homework.
Animals can’t talk. Let’s do it for them!!!