Oct. 17, 2017 groundbreaking for Linda Kelley Animal Shelter in Prince Frederick, MD

Prince Frederick, MD – A big change is coming to Calvert County. Sadly, the change agent who got the ball rolling was not there to see the ceremonial start of constructing a state-of-the-art animal shelter on Route 231 in Prince Frederick. On Tuesday, Oct. 17, members of Linda Kelley’s family—including her husband, mother and granddaughter—were among those attending a short ground-breaking ceremony at the site of the facility that is being named in her honor.

Construction of the shelter will yield a 13,650-square-foot building along with a 1,200-square foot accessory barn. The facility will be able to accommodate 200 dogs, cats, exotic animals and livestock. The complex will cost an estimated $5.6 million and the project is being realized due to a public/private partnership.

“This is well-thought-out, well-designed,” project manager Eric Bailey of Marrick Properties told TheBayNet.com. According to Bailey, Marrick worked with FMD Architects of Ohio, a firm that specializes in animal care facilities, to plan the Calvert project.

“It will eliminate disease transmission,” said Bailey. “Hopefully, it makes the animals more comfortable.”

The addition of a state-of-the-art facility allows Calvert to secede from the Tri-County Animal Shelter in Hughesville. That facility’s dilapidated state prompted concerns from animal lovers and elected officials. “I wouldn’t send a dog there,” Calvert County Commissioners’ President Tom Hejl [R – At large] told the groundbreaking ceremony audience.

It was Kelley, a former county commissioner and unabashed animal lover, who led the move to get Calvert to consider constructing its own facility—one with adequate space that provide comfort for the displaced animals and drastically reduce the need for euthanization. Money and land were the largest obstacles. After listening to Kelley’s report to the commissioners along with other members of Calvert’s Tri-County Animal Shelter Advisory Committee, Bailey’s father—Marrick Properties’ Vice President Rick Bailey—came forward with a public private partnership proposal.
When the partnership was formally announced, Kelley was thrilled, stating it was “a day that we only dared to hope for and dream about.” Kelley passed away Feb. 1 after a brief illness. Before she died and with knowledge of her grave condition, the commissioners voted unanimously to name the shelter in her honor.

County government staff—led by Department of Public Safety Director Jackie Vaughan—begin to steer the project in the direction it is headed today. Last month, Crystal Dowd, an animal control specialist with a wide resume of experience was hired as the shelter director. “We’ve been very busy with budgets and position information forms,” said Dowd, who has also been working closely with Eric Bailey on project details.  

“It’s the biggest project we have going right now,” said the younger Bailey, who added Marrick recently finished constructing a medical office building in the north end of Prince Frederick. When the project reaches its peak there will be an estimated 200 workers on site. The Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter project is expected to take one year to complete.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com