NORTH ADAMS — After years of looking for an alternative to its decrepit house on the hill, the city has a new temporary animal shelter — in Adams.
Under a somewhat informal agreement in place for the last several months, the town has allowed North Adams to utilize its small dog pound on East Road as an alternative to the city's dilapidated shelter on Reservoir Road.
"It's accessible, it's lit, it's safe, it's warm, it's dry," Alcombright said of the Adams shelter. "It has enough capacity."
Officials from the two towns say they'll reassess how sharing the service worked in the spring or summer and determine whether or not to reach a permanent, official agreement.
"It serves its purpose and it's just one little small way we could share services," Mazzucco said, adding that towns should share services whenever they can easily do so.
Currently, the city is not paying Adams for its limited use of the shelter, but Alcombright said he expects to chip in for heating costs after the weather warms up.
"It's been a good relationship so far," Alcombright said. "The town's been very gracious."
By utilizing the Adams shelter instead of building its own, the city will save an estimated $35,000, which can now be used toward other capital projects. The funding had been earmarked from the $750,000 emergency relief funding awarded by the city to the state in 2014 following the closure of North Adams Regional Hospital.
Projects still scheduled to be completed with the emergency relief funding include an upgrade to natural gas at the water treatment plant and the North Adams Public Library and replacement of five heating and cooling units at city hall. The funding has already paid for the purchase of two new police cruisers and a study of invasive weeds at Windsor Lake.
Prior to the agreement with Adams, the city had considered building a simple and small animal shelter on State Street.
"The more we looked at it, and the more we were pricing things out ... the need to get out of the place we were in escalated," Alcombright said. "We were having some real water intrusion up there. It's an awful place."
Though small and hardly noticeable, capacity is not expected to be an issue at the Adams shelter. In emergency situations where more than a handful of dogs needed shelter, both towns already rely on outside help from organizations like the Berkshire Humane Society.
"You don't build the shelter based on those peaks once or twice a year," said North Adams Administrative Officer Michael Canales.
Mazzucco noted that the shelter has received several small upgrades in recent years and Alcombright said the towns could look to improve it further if they reach a permanent agreement.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.