Despite objections from some community groups in Homewood, a plan by the Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania for a modern shelter on a 4-acre site remains a good idea for the property and for the neighborhood.
The rescue league, a nonprofit that offers shelter and veterinary care to cats, dogs and other animals, has been a fixture in Pittsburgh’s East End for a century. It has been headquartered on Hamilton Avenue in Larimer since 1963, and the proposed new location at Hamilton and North Dallas avenues in Homewood is just a few blocks away.
Unlike its current home, which is surrounded by businesses, the new site is in a residential area, and neighbors obviously would prefer housing development. However, no proposals for housing are on the table, and the shelter should prove more attractive than a warehouse now on the land and won’t necessarily be disruptive.
The rescue league has promised that its offices and meeting rooms will front the street in the $15 million building, with animal enclosures in the back, facing the East Busway.
In addition, city Councilman Ricky Burgess, who represents Homewood and favors the plan, has promised to use the resources of his office to make sure the shelter benefits the community rather than hurts it. He hopes the shelter could be a catalyst for other development, too.
The Animal Rescue League provides important service to the community, it has been a good neighbor for a long time and it wants to put its money, in the form of investing in a new facility, where it has deep roots. With proper oversight, the expanded headquarters could be a positive step in an area that has been neglected for too long.