Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter Groundbreaking Ceremony
The groundbreaking of the Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter was held on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. Named in honor of former Calvert County Commissioner Linda L. Kelley, the shelter will be built at 5055 Hallowing Point Road, Prince Frederick. Kelley was known as a vocal and committed champion of animal rights. She had advocated for many years the need for a new shelter in Calvert County.
In May 2016, the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners announced with a press release it was entering into a public/private partnership with Marrick Properties to lease a facility for a new animal shelter. The partnership with Marrick Properties allows for an option to purchase the building at a later date. Founded by Marvin Oursler and Rick Bailey in 1984, the company has a long history developing residential communities and commercial properties in Calvert County.
At the groundbreaking, Rick Bailey, Marrick Properties, thanked their partners and the County “for the opportunity to provide the community with a facility that takes the current level of standard to a new level. This is public/private at its best.”
FMD Architects, Fairlawn, Ohio, was the architectural firm hired by Marrick Properties to design the complex. The company has a national reputation designing veterinarian clinics, hospitals, schools and other public projects. Robb Seders, Vice President of Operations, said this was “an opportunity to give back to the community.” The company understands the importance of specialized systems for their clients. Locally FMD Architects designed the Queenstown Veterinarian Clinic, Queenstown, Maryland, owned by Dr. Marianne Bailey.
Tom Hejl, president of the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners, said the $6.1 million building will be state-of-the-art, allowing approximately up to 200 animals at any given time to live in better conditions as they are rehabilitated. The facility is also slated to have a barn, allowing for short-term care of large animals.
The recent reorganization of the County Government placed the division of Animal Control under Public Safety. Jackie Vaughn, Director, introduced Crystal Dowd, hired as the division chief for the shelter. Vaughn said Dowd is currently developing budgets, plans and researching equipment for the building. More staff will be hired as the facility is developed. Ms. Vaughn, who was a friend of Linda Kelley, said ““It fills my heart to see this project move to the next phase and get closer to fulfilling her vision to ensure the safe and humane treatment of all animals.”
The event was attended by Linda Kelley’s mother, Shirley Sistek; husband, Thomas Kelley; granddaughter, Sara DePompa; and great grandsons, Trenton and Trevor DePompa. Mrs. Sistek said that Linda’s “dream has come true, she hated to see animals abused.” The family was presented with a ceremonial shovel that will be proudly displayed in their home.
Carol Hall, co-founder and board member of Friends of Felines said she was “so excited to see this day. Linda was an amazing lady; I only wish she was here to see this.” Linda Kelley had been a board member and active partner in the Friends of Felines, whose focus is on rescuing free roaming or abandoned cats and placing them in managed colonies or permanent homes in an effort to curb cat overpopulation. The group works alongside other rescue groups and the Calvert County Animal Control.
Linda Kelley was an advocate for the people developing and promoting programs that bettered our community. Former Commissioner Barbara Stinnett stated “Linda loved her animals. I am thrilled that her dreams are coming true. She was a good commissioner who dedicated her life to her constituents. She is smiling down on us today.”
For more information on Calvert County animal welfare organizations:
Friends of Felines – http://www.friends-of-felines.com
Patuxent Animal Welfare Society, Inc. – https://www.facebook.com/PAWSPet/
Human Society of Calvert County – https://humanesocietyofcalvertcounty.org/
Calvert Animal Welfare League Rescue – http://www.cawlrescue.org/
Freedom Hill Horse Rescue – http://www.freedomhillhorserescue.com/
Pets on Wheels, Inc. Maryland – http://www.petsonwheels.org
Southern Maryland Spay & Neuter, Inc. – http://www.spayspot.org
Calvert County Animal Control – http://www.co.cal.md.us/index.aspx?nid=1301
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Joyce Stinnett Baki / Calvert Beacon Reporter