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SPCA goes public to raise money for proposed new shelter

The SPCA Serving Erie County is going public to raise the rest of the money it needs to build a new, larger shelter in a more centralized location.

More than $6 million of the $8 million goal was raised during the private phase of the Raise the Roof capital campaign, according to SPCA officials. Construction is expected to start this summer and take between a year and 18 months to complete.

“With a larger, more centrally located space, we’re most happy that it will put us in the position to do more good,” said Larry Robb, president of the board of directors. “Right now, we’re bursting at the seams.”

The SPCA has been on Ensminger Road in the Town of Tonawanda since 1962.

SPCA officials are looking at a site on Harlem Road in West Seneca, near the junction of Route 400 and the Thruway, that once housed an outdoor skate park. Other locations have been considered, but the 10-acre West Seneca property is the “front-runner,” officials said.

“That’s the site we would like to purchase,” SPCA spokeswoman Gina Browning said Tuesday.

“Erie County is so big; it’s not going to be in everybody’s backyard,” Browning said. “It is more central than Tonawanda.”

Erie County had sold the land to the Town of West Seneca in 1969, and the town sold it to its current, private owner in 2001. Last summer, the Town Board asked the County Legislature to remove a deed restriction – that the property be used for municipal purposes – that inexplicably remained in place since the town sold the land.

The SPCA’s plans call for a 40,000-square-foot shelter, along with a parking lot and barn structure. “While we’re hoping to create a better environment for the animals, it’s also about people and our community,” said Robb. “This new facility will help thousands of people through their association with animals and will make Erie County a better community.”

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