Hi Tor animal center construction in Rockland on pause

County Executive Ed Day, center right, flanked by facilities director Bob Gruffi, Hi-Tor board president Debbie DiBernado and County Legislature majority leader Jay Hood ceremoniously break ground on the new Hi-Tor Animal Care Center facility in Pomona on Thursday, October 21, 2021. A six-week bidding period for developers and contractors was just announced.

NEW CITY — The long-awaited construction of a multimillion dollar Hi Tor animal shelter is on temporary hold after bids for the work came in exceeding the budget. Some town officials are also having second thoughts about the location.

Rockland committed $7.7 million to the construction, plus $500,000 for architects and engineering. The Hi-Tor Shelter Fund added an estimated $472,578 through donations and fundraising, while Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski secured a $500,000 state grant.

The nearly $10 million seemed to place the decade-long project on solid ground. However, bids from five contractors recently came in consistently in the $14 million range, said County Executive Ed Day, who has led the charge for the new shelter despite the problems.

Officials lamented that time only increased the cost for the proposed 14,000-square-foot modernized facility on county property across from the Rockland Fire Training Center and Ramapo baseball stadium bordering parkland off Route 45.

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Day said he’s not pleased by the additional delay and noted the current shelter is archaic for the animals’ health and on its last legs.

“The costs are what they are and they are not going down,” Day said of the five bids. “It’s only going to get more expensive with the delays. The time is long past to get this done..”

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