Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter Hold Demolition Party for New Building

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Back row left to right: Shelter volunteers Edna Daufen, Mary Forslund, Diane Pugh, Alyssa Gazarian, Karen Howald, FONBAS Board Members Walt Howald, Robyn Grant, Tom Fischbacher and Jon Langford, Newport Beach Police Department Animal Control Supervisor Valerie Schomburg holding Officer Bubbles, Newport Beach Officers John Nelson and Jesse Castro. Front row: Hons. Evelyn Hart & Will O’Neill

Wednesday Jan. 12 marked a momentous occasion for the Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter, or FONBAS, when Board members, volunteers, and other friends showed up to witness the demolition of the existing building on the site of the soon-to-be permanent Animal Shelter on Riverside Drive in the Santa Ana Heights region of the City of Newport Beach.

FONBAS was formed in 2017 by a group of community leaders as a nonprofit organization to supplement City funding of the Newport Beach Animal Shelter, operated by the Newport Beach Police Department under the expert leadership of Animal Control Supervisor Valerie Schomburg and her team of animal control officers, veterinary professionals, and trained volunteers.

As a result, the organization obtained extra resources to ensure the availability of special medical procedures, equipment, and services for animals under City care.

Shortly after its formation, FONBAS entered into a “pup”lic-private “paw”nership with the City of Newport Beach.

Newport Beach Police Department Animal Control Supervisor Valerie Schomburg holding Officer Bubbles

The private part is the development of a Founding Membership of nearly 500 community members along with a robust capital campaign which led to the purchase of the real property on Riverside Drive. Only about $350,000 of the total $3,000,000 remains to be raised to complete construction and begin operations at the new site.

Former Newport Beach Police Officer and FONBAS Board Member Tom Fischbacher heads up the building committee.

“We are proud to be working so closely with the City and women-owned Slater Builders to achieve today’s important demolition milestone” said Fischbacher.

The “pup”lic part will be the donation of the property and newly-constructed state-of-the-art animal shelter to the City of Newport Beach for permanent use for the care and adoption of displaced animals.

The concept of public-private partnership has gained momentum in the City in recent years, supplementing resources to enhance our community and secure infrastructure assets championed by residents.

The FONBAS Animal Shelter joins a prestigious list of completed public-private projects that include Oasis Senior Center, The Sculpture Exhibition in Civic Center Park, and Marina Park, as well as projects in process such as the Junior Lifeguard Headquarters and Library Lecture Hall.

From left to right: Shelter volunteers Diane Pugh, Edna Daufen & Mary Forslund, Newport Beach Animal Control Supervisor Valerie Schomburg holding Officer Bubbles, Karen Howald, and FONBAS Board Members Walt Howald, Tom Fischbacher, Hon. Evelyn Hart, Jon Langford, Robyn Grant

Hon. Evelyn Hart, a founding FONBAS Board Member, points out that “What is unique about the Shelter is that one hundred percent of the money to purchase the real property and build the facility is contributed from private resources, and the public element is solely to accept a fully constructed and operational state-of-the-art facility.”

Once built, the Animal Shelter will include a single-story, 1,500-square-foot building, including a 750-square-foot kennel to house dogs, cats, and other animals plus parking, a front-yard greeting area, and a secure rear-yard exercise area.

To participate or become a FONBAS member go to www.FONBAS.org.

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