Tyler Regional Animal Care Shelter a 'home run' for East Hartford, Manchester and South Windsor

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., May. 2, 2013
A dog gets some attention at the grand opening and dedication ceremony of the Tyler Regional Animal Care Shelter (TRACS) on Friday, April 26. Photos by Christian Mysliwiec.
A dog gets some attention at the grand opening and dedication ceremony of the Tyler Regional Animal Care Shelter (TRACS) on Friday, April 26. Photos by Christian Mysliwiec.

The three towns of East Hartford, Manchester and South Windsor took a major step forward in advancing shared services with the opening and dedication of the Tyler Regional Animal Care Shelter (TRACS) on Friday, April 26. The facility, which has 35 dog kennels and space for cats as well as exotic animals, is being used by all three member towns for animal control services. The facility is also specifically intended to be a place where people can view the animals in a clean and inviting atmosphere before adopting them.

The new animal shelter is situated in a building previously used by the South Windsor Fire Department, which left the facility in 1965. It was renovated using a $515,000 grant from the state of Connecticut.

“It was the best use of the building with the resources the towns had,” said project architect Anwar Hossain, AIA of The Lawrence Associates. The half-a-million-dollar cost is considerably lower than the estimated price tag to build new, which, according to feasibility studies, was between $4.7 and $5.2 million. “It's a win-win for everyone,” said Hossain.

South Windsor Mayor Thomas Delnicki said the grant made the project possible while saving local taxpayers money. The result is a facility that not only houses the animals, but presents an attractive space for visitors to see and adopt the animals. “The thought process here is get the animals adopted,” he said.

According to South Windsor Chief of Police Matthew Reed, the member towns will each pay about $27,000 a year. He said that South Windsor was paying a similar amount just to bring animals to a facility in Vernon prior to using TRACS.

“It was a long road to get here, and not always a smooth one,” Reed said in the opening remarks of the grand opening. “The idea began with Chief Tyler, who was an advocate of regional services.”

Chief Gary K. Tyler served the community of South Windsor for 23 years, beginning in 1987. In addition to his regional accomplishments as chief, he was a strong proponent of a regional animal shelter. Tyler retired June 4, 2010, and after battling cancer, passed away Aug. 9, 2011, at the age of 70. Because of his advocacy for regionalism and his love of animals, the animal shelter was dedicated to him.

In the member towns of South Windsor, Manchester and East Hartford, animal control falls under the purview of the police departments. South Windsor paid to use the animal control facility in Vernon, which was next to the sewer treatment plant. When Reed noticed the unused firehouse, he asked Town Manager Matthew Galligan if they could put the animals there. The process was initiated, and construction began in 2012.

“Who would have thought that East Hartford, Manchester and South Windsor would work together?” said Delnicki. “This is a home run for regionalism.”

East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc applauded the cooperation of the member towns, and expressed her enthusiasm for the regional effort. “We look forward to many great things here,” she said.

East Hartford Police Chief Mark Sirois also applauded the regional effort, and looked forward to more cooperation to come. “This is just the beginning,” he said.

The project was made possible through the advocacy of the state senators representing the member towns, Gary LeBeau (D-3rd District) and Bill Aman (R-14th District). “This is an outcome all three towns can be very, very proud of,” said Aman. With regionalism a hot-button topic at the Capitol, Aman told those gathered that the entire state will be watching how the three member communities handle operating and using the shared service. “I congratulate everyone involved,” he said.

“I’m pleased to have played a role in getting this project off the ground,” said LeBeau. “It’s a model of regional cooperation. You’re saving people money while doing things more efficiently and effectively. It’s really want you want to see.”

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