NORTH PROVIDENCE – The new Tri-Town Animal Shelter at 900 Smithfield Road is expected to be open to the public by the beginning of June, says Mayor Charles Lombardi.
Last week, the mayor said, he visited the shelter that will be shared by North Providence with Johnston and Smithfield, and checked in on the combined staff’s progress in getting acclimated to the new facility.
Staff have been in the shelter for about a week, said Lombardi on Sunday, and animals that were in a temporary Smithfield shelter have been moved in. A new sign was set to be installed early this week.
The mayor has said he is planning a grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony for the long-awaited shelter.
All three of the partner communities in the shelter will operate under the same rules and processes, with staff expected to be interchangeable when it comes to responding to resident and animal needs.
Staffers have wanted to get fully accustomed to the building and how it functions before opening to the public.
Lombardi said in late March that he expected the shelter, under construction for the past year, to open within a month. Delays have been blamed on supply chain issues.
The Breeze reported in February that there were a number of issues being straightened out between the three communities that will share the shelter, including clarification that this will be one shelter with a shared mission and response, not with differing policies and pricing structures. Officials said they fixed a number of issues at that point.
The new shelter incorporates design elements taken from shelters all over the state. Animal rights advocates had long pleaded with officials to build a new shelter to replace the old and dilapidated one at this spot, even holding pickets outside the North Providence Public Safety Complex as the years continued to slip by.
A new sign will feature navy blue for North Providence, light blue for Johnston, and green for Smithfield.
Regionalization of services will continue to protect area communities into the future, says Lombardi, particularly for a town such as North Providence that doesn’t have much space for new development. Smithfield and Johnston will pay fees to be part of the regionalized shelter.
Regionalization of animal control facilities has become more commonplace as spaying and neutering efforts have gained more traction in recent years and numbers of animals available for adoption have diminished.
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