BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Officials with the P.A.W. animal shelter in Fort Madison kicked off a capital campaign to raise more than $5 million to build a new, more efficient facility on Wednesday.
Brad Walker, president the board for the Protector of Animal Welfare shelter, located on 48th Street, said the project could cost in excess of $5 million, but the group is willing to take on the project bit by bit.
“We have to figure out what our budget’s going to be and get a few people together to work on the campaign. We’re looking at price tag so far of close to $5M or $6 million.
Walker said the funds will be all private donations.
A recent private memorial donation of close to $150,000 finished paying off the land for the new facility and covered design costs. The board financed the land in 2018. The current facility sits on about two acres, but with the new land, the footprint is expanded to close to six acres.
PAW has been in the current facility since 1990 and Walker said instead of continuing to throw money at the old facility, it was time to start looking to the future.
“It’s gonna big a big price tag, but we’re hoping to do a little bit at a time, maybe get the ground ready, then lay concrete and just work our way up,” Walker said.
Although there is no timeline for the work, Walker said he’d like to try and get some initial work done on preparing the site yet this year.
The family that owned two Pembroke Welsh Corgis adopted from the shelter donated the grant in memory of one of the dogs.
According to a release from the P.A.W. board, Eli and Bella, the two Corgi, were lucky enough to be two of the amazing success stories from PAW. Unfortunately, Bella recently passed away and in memory of her, Eli and Bella’s families have generously donated a substantial contribution to PAW to start Phase I of the new shelter project. This includes payoff of land recently purchased and to develop detailed shovel ready plans for building a new improved animal shelter.
“The vision for the new shelter is not to become larger, but to be more operationally efficient.” said Sandy Brown, Director of P.A.W.
Baker said he’s excited about the vision and future of the program.
“I’m excited… very excited. It’s a little overwhelming,” Walker said. “I got into this to help the animals, and now it’s turning into a construction job on top of it.”
Walker said they wanted to start the campaign a couple of months ago, but the coronavirus caused them, like most every other project in the county, to be pushed back.
“This give us meet and greet rooms, office space, intake, gives us staff rooms,” Brown said. “All the dogs will be inside. That was our biggest challenge. We wanted all dogs to have inside and outside runs so that no animal would be totally outside in the dead of winter.”
Brown said the shelter is for the people who bring in pop cans, and kids that give birthday money, the lemonade stands and the community as whole.
“This isn’t my shelter. It belongs to the community and the amazing people that support us,” Brown said. “We typically are saying, ‘How are we going to pay the bills,’ and not once yet have we had to say that this year.”
Donations can be made through the PAW website or Facebook page. There is a scan code on Facebook that directs donors to a link, or call the facility at 319-372-2274.