SPCA Discusses Plan For Vanduzee Land Swap

SPCA Discusses Plan For Vanduzee Land Swap

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Cats in the closet. Dogs in the office. It's really cramped at the Jefferson County SPCA shelter.

"We can only grow so far in the current facility that we're in," said Heather Spezzano, executive director.

So, the SPCA is eying a spot for a new facility and it sent in a proposal for a plot of land on Vanduzee Street, the site of a massive fire in 2015.

The SPCA would build a $2.5 million shelter and have land left over for a dog park and walking trails.

To get the property, the SPCA wants to trade land it owns on Route 3 in the town of Pamelia for the Vanduzee site.

"We take their land, they take ours," said Spezzano.

With Jefferson County Dog Control possibly closing by the end of this year, Spezzano says it's even more important that the SPCA expand its shelter.

"We're talking to different townships and the city, just in case dog control does close. It will have an impact on us, there's not very many shelters, so at some point we will have to take on some of that load from them," she said.

The land the SPCA is offering to swap is land the city has been interested in in the past. It sits on the Black River and the city wants to protect that area from development. 

But since the land is in the town of Pamelia, City Assessor Brian Phelps says the city would most likely annex it into the city of Watertown.

City Manager Rick Finn says staff met on Monday and will be putting together a report on the proposal to present to city council next week. 

One thing the city will look at is the value of both properties. Phelps says the Vanduzee land is assessed at almost $300,000. The SPCA property's value is still unknown.

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