Post Offices Closed Monday In Observance Of Independence Day

Post offices across the state will be closed on Monday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. Street delivery on Monday will be limited to guaranteed overnight parcels and there will be no collection of mail.

Full retail and delivery operations will resume on Tuesday, July 5.

The Postal Service continues to work to stamp out dog bites. We ask customers to be mindful of pets during the holiday weekend and keep a clear path to the mailbox.   

In addition, note:               

For 24/7 access to most postal products and services, go to www.usps.com where you can look up a ZIP Code, track a package, buy stamps, hold mail, print postage online, submit a change of address, schedule a package pickup and find Post Office locations including self-service kiosks.

Customers can also renew passports or sign up for our latest innovation, Informed Delivery, at www.usps.com. Informed Delivery lets residential consumers see what is arriving in their mailboxes by sending them digital previews of their incoming envelopes and postcards. These images can be viewed via email notifications or accessed through an online dashboard at informeddelivery.usps.com— perfect for travelers to check for important letters that are arriving over the holiday weekend.

Looking for work? The Postal service is hiring for positions in your area. Just go to usps.com/careers and search, by state, for jobs near you.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Two Bodies Found Near Southern Artery

By SCOTT JACKSON

Foul play is not suspected in the deaths of two people whose bodies were found in the vicinity of Southern Artery on Thursday morning, Quincy police said.

Lt. Daniel Guarente on Friday said the two bodies were found shortly before 9:30 a.m. on Thursday by a passerby on a walking trail near the Quirk Nissan dealership. The lieutenant said the two individuals, a man and a woman, were homeless.

The two bodies were taken to state’s medical examiner for an autopsy, Guarante said. He stated their deaths did not appear suspicious and are being investigated as possible overdoses.

The names and ages of the individuals were not released Friday. Guarante said police were still in the process of notifying next of kin.

 

State Public Health Officials Confirm 8 New Monkeypox Cases; Total Now 21

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) on Thursday (June 30) announced eight additional cases of monkeypox in adult males within the past week, bringing the total number of monkeypox cases in the Commonwealth to 21 since the first Massachusetts case was announced May 18.

DPH provides public updates on monkeypox in Massachusetts on a weekly basis each Thursday. The eight cases announced June 30 had their diagnoses between June 23 and June 29 after initial testing was completed by the State Public Health Laboratory in Jamaica Plain. DPH is working with local health officials, the patients, and healthcare providers to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patients while they were infectious. All eight individuals are currently isolating to prevent spread to others.

Current data from CDC indicate that there have been 351 cases of monkeypox virus this year in US residents. Regularly updated case counts can be obtained on the CDC’s website: 2022 U.S. Map and Case Count. There have been no deaths in the US or globally related to this outbreak and patients generally recover fully in 2-4 weeks. Although many of the early cases were associated with international travel, recent cases are not. Gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men make up a large proportion of the cases identified to date. However, the risk is not limited to the LGBTQ community, and anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.

While the virus does not spread easily between people, people can spread the infection once they develop symptoms. Transmission occurs through direct contact with body fluids and monkeypox sores, by touching items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or less commonly, through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact. In many of the recent cases, the locations of the rash lesions suggest transmission during sexual contact. Examples where monkeypox can spread and where it does not:

  • Monkeypox can spread through:
    • Direct skin-to-skin contact with rash lesions. Sexual/intimate contact, including kissing while a person is infected.
    • Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone. Sharing towels or unwashed clothing.
    • Respiratory secretions through face-to-face interactions (the type that mainly happen when living with someone or caring for someone who has monkeypox).
  • Monkeypox does not spread through:
    • Casual conversations. Walking by someone with monkeypox in a grocery store, for instance. Touching items like doorknobs.

Clinicians are asked to be alert to the possibility of monkeypox virus infection in individuals who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox. Early symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes, but rash may be the first symptom. Rash lesions start flat, become raised, fill with clear fluid (vesicles), and then become pustules (filled with pus). A person with monkeypox can have many lesions or may have only a few. Learn more about how to recognize monkeypox.

Actions for people to consider if they want to reduce their risk from monkeypox include:

  • Avoiding large gatherings like raves and dance parties where you may have lots of close body contact with others
  • Asking any partner, especially new partners whose health status and recent travel history you are not familiar with, if they have any symptoms of monkeypox
  • Staying informed by reading information available on the DPH and CDC websites.

As the CDC advises, if you believe you may have monkeypox, you should contact your health care provider. If you need to leave your home, wear a mask and cover your rash or lesions when around others. Those who live with or care for someone who may have monkeypox should wear a mask and disposable gloves if they need to have any direct contact with lesions and when handling any clothes or bedding if the person cannot do it themselves. They should also wash their hands regularly, especially after contact with the person who is infected or with their clothes, bed sheets, towels and other items or surfaces they may have touched.

Clinicians should consult with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 617-983-6800 to determine if testing is indicated. Consultation is required before submitting specimens.

For more information about this virus, visit www.mass.gov/monkeypox and www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox.

City Taking Step Back On Furnace Brook Plans

By SCOTT JACKSON

Neighborhood residents and golfers alike suggested dozens of ideas they want to see incorporated into plans for improvements to Furnace Brook Golf Course and Forbes Hill Park during a community workshop.

More than 60 people attended the two-hour workshop held on June 28 inside the clubhouse at the course on Reservoir Road. David Murphy, Quincy’s commissioner of natural resources, said the city was taking a step back from its initial plans for the site, which were presented at a previous community meeting.

“This isn’t like our first meeting. Many of you – I recognize your faces – were here in February when we presented a plan and got reaction on a plan. We’re actually taking a step back from that based on a lot of the community feedback that we received,” Murphy said at the outset of the June 28 meeting. “Our goal tonight is to have a workshop, a values workshop, about what the community wants to see from the golf course, from the park, from the relationship, and how it impacts the community at large.

“That’s the goal tonight. I’m not here to present a sketch of a building or a park or anything else like that. We want to hear about the values that should inform the design process. We’ve actually put our process on pause to get more feedback based on the type of feedback that we were getting.”

“Originally, our goal was to go before the council and seek an appropriation in the early half of this year, but we said we better take a time out, we better take a pause, we need more community feedback on this, we’re not where we need to be,” Murphy added. “Working with many folks in the community, we’ve taken a deep breath, we’ve taken a step back, and here we are this evening.”

The feedback gathered at the meeting will help inform the design of the improvements for the course and park, Murphy explained. As part of that plan, the city is seeking to find common ground among the various stakeholders involved in the process.

“From this meeting, we go back to the design process. We take a look at the park, we take a look at the clubhouse, we take a look at the relationship with the two and the community, and then we come back here at some point with the presentation with actual plans and get further reaction. That won’t be the last meeting either. There is a process in place that is going to allow everybody to have a seat at the table,” Murphy said.

“Now I don’t think everybody here is here for the same reason. I think there are some people here tonight that are mad we haven’t started construction. I think there are some people here tonight that want us to do no construction. We’ve got to find those places in between as a community and those values that are shared that we can use to inform whatever process we do going forward.”

After Murphy’s remarks, those in attendance were sorted into six groups at random to ensure that each group included a mix of viewpoints and were asked to share values and principles they want to see included in plans for the course and park. Staff from the engineering consulting firm Fuss & O’Neill led the discussions at each table.

The table moderated by Arnold Robinson, the firm’s regional director of planning, featured several area residents, members of the Friends of Forbes Hill Park, as well as a 40-year member of the golf club.

Group members said they wanted Forbes Hill Park to be maintained as a place where children can play, another said the site should be a gathering place for the neighborhood “in the widest sense,” the club member said it would be important to keep a functional golf course on site, and a second person added that it should be made accessible to all. Group members also said the upkeep of both the park and golf course need to be improved.

Ideas for a new clubhouse were discussed by group members. The new clubhouse, one person said, should serve as a shared amenity for both the park and golf course, while others said it could be used to host community events. Those at the table agreed that the new clubhouse should not be used to host functions like weddings.

Other suggestions for the new clubhouse included constructing it within the same footprint of the existing clubhouse but taller to maximize views, providing space for a golf simulator that can provide a new revenue stream during winter months, building a new outdoor firepit and deck space, and raising the height of the building so golf carts and concessions could be located at ground level under the clubhouse.

Group members also discussed the future of the golf course itself. Several said it should be made more accessible to the public, which could mean making more tee times available to non-members and providing club rentals on site. Youth golf programs were also identified as a priority. One person also suggested a tow rope should be run during the winter to make it easier for skiers and sledders to get to the top of the hill – one was formerly located on site.

As to the adjoining Forbes Hill Park, group members said the tennis and basketball courts should be replaced with new ones, said that the lighting on site should be improved, and suggested a walking path could be created around the perimeter. Group members also said they liked that the park is not used for organized sports, like Little League, which keeps noise levels down in the surrounding neighborhood.

There were several suggestions made relative to the trees on site. Members of the group said it was important to keep tree cover at both the park and golf course, called for a tree survey to be conducted, said tired and old trees should be replaced, and suggested invasive plants should be removed.

As for the project itself, group members said the city needs to be transparent about the plans and suggested a third party be brought in to review items like planned drainage improvements. One person also suggested a model should be created showing the plans and that they be staked out within the park to make it easier for community members to understand them.

Following the break-out session, which lasted about 45 minutes, the moderators from each table presented their tables’ values and principles to the larger group. Many of those values and principles were similar to the ones discussed at Robinson’s table. There were also different values and principles discussed at those tables.

At least two of the groups said financial transparency was important, in terms of the proposed improvements to the park and golf course, as well as the annual expenses and revenues associated with the golf course.

Dogs were another point of discussion among several of the groups, with some people suggesting there should be a space for dogs at the park – either on- or off-leash – while others said they should not be allowed at all.

Other suggestions raised by the groups included limiting what type of alcohol is served on site to discourage drunk driving, limiting the operating hours for the restaurant on site and the golf course, building a parking garage under the first floor of the new clubhouse, creating a new pollinator garden or community garden, adding new bocce courts on site, opening up the tower on site as an observation deck, and bringing in goats to eat poison ivy.

Following the workshop, Ryan and Sarah Edwards of the Friends of Forbes Hill Park, described the session as positive and said it revealed common ground between the various stakeholders.

“It was positive,” Ryan Edwards said. “I think it actually probably revealed much common ground…more shared values in design than many of us probably thought coming into it.”

“I would agree with that,” Sarah Edwards added. “There were surprising comments from others that said, ‘actually we do have a lot in common,’ so that is very positive.

“There are still contentious issues that need to be resolved, so there is a big dot, dot, dot at the end of this evening, which is really up to the decision makers themselves – how do they take this information and actually translate it and communicate with us in a way they haven’t been able to do yet.”

Moving forward, Sarah Edwards said she would like to see different options put forward for the community to consider.

“I hope we see a range of scenarios that are possible, and I hope we get many more meetings like this that can be facilitated so that we move forward,” she said. “This is the easy part. Now we have to start to help make decisions and really prioritize our values and for that I really hope they continue to engage with the community.”

Jenn McDonough, a resident of nearby Wollaston Hill, said transparency would help the process as it advances.

“I think it was productive,” she said of the workshop. “Of course, you have people that are really very passionate for either side. I don’t think there has to be division.

“I think…if there is respectfully transparency for everything that is going on, I think it’s good, so every one can be happy with preserving the little oasis on the hill.”

Rep. Lynch Statement Following SC Decision Overturning Roe V. Wade

U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade:

“In overruling Roe v. Wade and nearly five decades of carefully-deliberated precedent protecting the fundamental right to privacy of all Americans, this Supreme Court majority has unwisely resolved to place political ideology above its Constitutional role as the impartial arbiter of the law and a guardian of our Constitution.

“To the lasting detriment of the Court’s own legitimacy, this unwarranted and clearly political decision will invite—and even compel—additional government interference into private healthcare decisions and certainly threatens other core civil liberties derived from the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

“As a proud cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, I will continue to strongly support efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into law and ensure that the Constitutional right to privacy is not subject to political whim.”

Baker Signs Executive Order To Protect Access To Reproductive Health Care Services

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v Wade on Friday (June 24), Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order to protect access to reproductive health care services in the Commonwealth.

“I am deeply disappointed in today’s decision by the Supreme Court which will have major consequences for women across the country who live in states with limited access to reproductive health care services. The Commonwealth has long been a leader in protecting a woman’s right to choose and access to reproductive health services, while other states have criminalized or otherwise restricted access,” Baker said. “This executive order will further preserve that right and protect reproductive health care providers who serve out of state residents. In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v Wade, it is especially important to ensure that Massachusetts providers can continue to provide reproductive health care services without concern that the laws of other states may be used to interfere with those services or sanction them for providing services that are lawful in the Commonwealth.”

“We are proud of the Commonwealth’s history of ensuring access to reproductive health care, and will continue to do so, despite today’s ruling from the Supreme Court,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “With these actions, Massachusetts is once again leading the way in protecting a woman’s right to choose.”

Several other states have imposed laws that would criminalize providing abortions and other reproductive health services, and this executive order would protect providers who perform these services for out of state individuals as well as individuals from out of state who seek services that are lawful in Massachusetts.

The order prohibits any Executive Department agencies from assisting another state’s investigation into a person or entity for receiving or delivering reproductive health services that are legal in Massachusetts.

The order also protects Massachusetts providers who deliver reproductive health care services from losing their professional licenses or receiving other professional discipline based on potential out of state charges.

Under the executive order, the Commonwealth will not cooperate with extradition requests from other states pursuing criminal charges against individuals who received, assisted with, or performed reproductive health services that are legal in Massachusetts.

Click here to view the Executive Order.

Baker Signs VOTES ACT Into Law

Gov. Charlie Baker signed the VOTES Act into law this week, permanently codifying expanded voter access first made popular in Massachusetts during 2020, following recent votes by the Senate and House approving the legislation earlier this session. This sweeping voter reform encompasses a number of programs and supports to increase voter access, including mail-in and early voting.

“Democracy is a process through which everyone has a voice. We need to ensure those voices are being heard,” said Sen. John F. Keenan in a statement. “These provisions have made voting so much easier and efficient for so many Massachusetts residents, ultimately steering us toward a more representative and responsive government. Getting more people involved in the process will allow elected officials to get a better sense of what our constituents want.”

Thanks to expanded voter access, Massachusetts saw record high voter turnouts in 2020. Approximately 3.6 million residents cast ballots in 2020, totaling 76% of all registered voters. More than 40% of voters cast ballots by mail in the 2020 general election, with another 23% participating during early voting. Similarly, more than 1.7 million people voted in the 2020 state primary, the highest number of voters ever in a state primary. Close to half of all voters voted by mail during the primary.

“Instead of a mass mailing of ballots as some believe and which I am opposed to, Massachusetts voters will now be able to receive a mail-in ballot through a simple application process, making voting more inclusive,” said Sen. Keenan. “Voters who are physically unable to get to a polling place and voters with inflexible work schedules will now have fewer barriers to participating in the democratic process.”

The VOTES Act encompasses the following components:

Permanent mail-in voting

  • Allows registered voters to vote by mail for any presidential, state or municipal primary or election.
    • Municipalities may opt out of offering early voting by mail for any municipal preliminary or election not held on the same day as a state or federal election.
  • Allows registered voters to request a mail-in ballot for all applicable preliminaries, primaries, and elections in the calendar year.
  • Requires the Secretary of the Commonwealth to send out mail-in ballot applications, with return postage guaranteed, to registered voters before each presidential primary, state primary, and biennial state election.
  • Requires the Secretary of the Commonwealth to implement an online portal to allow voters to request a mail-in ballot.
  • Requires mail-in ballot applications to be posted on every municipality’s website.
  • Guarantees return postage for all mail-in ballots.

Expanded early voting in-person

  • Enshrines two weeks (including two weekends) of early voting in-person for biennial state elections and one week (including one weekend) for presidential or state primaries.
  • Requires municipalities to establish accessible early voting sites.
  • Requires larger municipalities to have early voting sites open for longer hours during early voting.
  • Allows municipalities to opt-in to early voting in-person for any other municipal election not held on the same day as a state or federal election.

Electronic voting options for voters with disabilities and service members

  • Enables a voter with disabilities to request accommodations from the Secretary of the Commonwealth, including an accessible electronic ballot application, ballot, and voter affidavit that can be submitted electronically.
  • Streamlines the voting process for uniformed and overseas citizens, giving them the option to vote through an electronic system approved by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Registration reforms

  • Moves the voter registration deadline from 20 to 10 days before a preliminary, primary, or election.
  • Requires the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s online voter registration portal to be offered in multiple languages.
  • Clarifies the automatic voter registration process.

Jail-based voting reforms

  • Helps ensure that incarcerated individuals who are currently eligible to vote can exercise their voting rights.
  • Requires correctional facilities to display and distribute voter education and election information materials as prepared by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
  • Requires facilities to assist individuals who are incarcerated and may be eligible to vote in registering, applying for and returning mail-in ballots.
  • Requires Secretary of the Commonwealth to provide guidance to local election officials about the qualifications and rights of eligible incarcerated voters and how to process their applications to register and vote.
  • Requires facilities to provide voting information and a voter registration form upon an individual’s release from the facility.

Flexibility for local officials and improvements to election administration

  • Gives municipalities the option to set up secure drop boxes for mail-in ballots.
  • Allows election officials to pre-process mail-in and early voting ballots (by opening up envelopes and verifying signatures in advance of Election Day).
  • Eases the process by which election officials can appoint and fill vacancies in poll workers.
  • Gives municipalities discretion as to the use of check-out lists at polling locations.
  • Requires the Secretary of the Commonwealth to join the Electronic Registration Information Center by July 1 to help Massachusetts keep more accurate voting rolls.
  • Instructs the Secretary of the Commonwealth to conduct a comprehensive public awareness campaign to highlight the provisions in the bill.

Preparations by the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office are now underway to ensure provisions covered by the VOTES Act will be in effect in time for the September primary.

MA Public Health Officials Confirm Six New Monkeypox Cases

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Thursday (June 23) six additional cases of monkeypox in adult males within the past week, bringing the total number of monkeypox cases in the Commonwealth to 13 since the first Massachusetts case was announced May 18.

DPH now provides public updates on monkeypox in Massachusetts on a weekly basis each Thursday. The six cases announced today had their diagnoses between June 16 and June 22 after initial testing was completed by the State Public Health Laboratory in Jamaica Plain. Confirmatory testing is done at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). DPH is working with local health officials, the patients, and healthcare providers to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patients while they were infectious. All six individuals are currently isolating to prevent spread to others.

Current data from CDC indicate that there have been 156 cases of monkeypox virus this year in US residents. Updated case counts can be obtained on the CDC’s website: 2022 U.S. Map and Case Count. There have been no deaths in the US or globally related to this outbreak and patients generally recover fully in 2-4 weeks. Although many of the early cases were associated with international travel, recent cases are not. Gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men make up a large proportion of the cases identified to date. However, the risk is not limited to the LGBTQ community, and anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.

While the virus does not spread easily between people, people can spread the infection once they develop symptoms. Transmission occurs through direct contact with body fluids and monkeypox sores, by touching items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or less commonly, through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact. In many of the recent cases, the locations of the rash lesions suggest transmission during sexual contact. Examples where monkeypox can spread and where it does not:

  • Monkeypox can spread through:
    • Direct skin-to-skin contact with rash lesions. Sexual/intimate contact, including kissing while a person is infected.
    • Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone. Sharing towels or unwashed clothing.
    • Respiratory secretions through face-to-face interactions (the type that mainly happen when living with someone or caring for someone who has monkeypox).
  • Monkeypox does not spread through:
    • Casual conversations. Walking by someone with monkeypox in a grocery store, for instance. Touching items like doorknobs.

Clinicians are asked to be alert to the possibility of monkeypox virus infection in individuals who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox. Early symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes, but rash may be the first symptom. Rash lesions start flat, become raised, fill with clear fluid (vesicles), and then become pustules (filled with pus). A person with monkeypox can have many lesions or may have only a few. Learn more about how to recognize monkeypox.

Actions for people to consider to help reduce the risk from monkeypox include:

  • Avoid large gatherings like raves and dance parties where you may have lots of close body contact with others
  • Ask any partner, especially new partners whose health status and recent travel history you are not familiar with, if they have any symptoms of monkeypox
  • Stay informed by reading information available on the DPH and CDC websites.

As the CDC advises, if you believe you may have monkeypox, you should contact your health care provider. If you need to leave your home, wear a mask and cover your rash or lesions when around others. Those who live with or care for someone who may have monkeypox should wear a mask and disposable gloves if they need to have any direct contact with lesions and when handling any clothes or bedding if the person cannot do it themselves. They should also wash their hands regularly, especially after contact with the person who is infected or with their clothes, bed sheets, towels and other items or surfaces they may have touched.

Clinicians should consult with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 617-983-6800 to determine if testing is indicated. Consultation is required before submitting specimens.

For more information about this virus, visit www.mass.gov/monkeypox and www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox.

UMass Marching Band To Headline Quincy Christmas Parade

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst Minuteman Marching Band has committed to headline the 69th annual City of Quincy Christmas parade, Mayor Thomas Koch announced Thursday (June 23).

Over 380 students are part of one of the most decorated college marching bands in the nation and will participate in the parade which will take place Sunday, Nov. 27.

Under the leadership of Director Timothy Todd Anderson, the Minuteman Marching Band has emerged as one of the nation’s outstanding band programs.

The band has performed for President Inaugural ceremonies, participated in the Macy’s Day Parade and the Rose Bowl Parade in recent years. The highly acclaimed band has also been the recipient of the most prestigious honor bestowed upon college bands, The Louis C. Sudler Trophy.

The band is noted for its award-winning drumline, large and powerful horn section and enthusiastic color guard that will certainly bring great entertainment to the parade spectators. Spectators from Quincy and beyond come by the thousand to watch the two-mile-long parade route down Hancock Street from Quincy Square to North Quincy High School.

“This is the largest and most decorated band to march in the long history of this parade,” Koch said. “We are pleased to welcome them to our city and share their musical skills with all our citizens. I am sure that they will bring great pride our many citizens who are alumni of UMass and look forward to the large crowds that a band of this caliber will attract to our already great tradition.”

Quincy City Council Approves Bond For New Animal Shelter

ARCHITECT’s rendering of the planned new Quincy Animal Shelter on Quarry Street, which will also house the Police Department’s K-9 unit and the city’s animal control officer. The City Council approved a $15 million bond for the project on Tuesday. Rendering courtesy city of Quincy.

By SCOTT JACKSON

City councillors on Tuesday gave their approval to a $15 million bond to pay for the construction of a new building on Quarry Street that will provide a new home for the Quincy Animal Shelter, the city’s animal control officer, and the Police Department’s K-9 unit.

Councillors approved the bond in a 7-1 vote on Tuesday, one week after passing it out of finance committee. Councillor Anne Mahoney voted against the request and Councillor Nina Liang was not in attendance for the meeting.

Shortly before the vote, Council President Noel DiBona thanked supporters of the animal shelter – a dozen of whom were present that evening – for their efforts.

“I want to thank all the animal shelter folks who came out tonight – thank you for all the emails that have come through to me over the last few weeks. I appreciate all your support of it,” DiBona said.

“This is a long overdue process and…hopefully we can move forward and get this thing built. I just want to thank you for all your time and energy you put into not only the animals but for the city of Quincy.”

City councillors in 2017 approved a $3.55 million bond for the project, half of the money Mayor Thomas Koch was seeking at the time. Ward 4 Brian Palmucci made the motion to cut the bond in half, expressing concern over fully funding the project before the design was complete and about the size of the building, which he likened to the Taj Mahal.

After the $15 million passed on Tuesday evening, Palmucci said he was sorry the project has taken so long to get going.

“If I had known then what I know now, we would have got the Taj Mahdog that was presented that night. I’m very sorry that there has been such a delay, but [I’m] glad to see that it’s going through now,” Palmucci said.

Mahoney did not comment on the request during Tuesday’s meeting but did express concern about the cost of the building during the previous committee hearing. At that hearing on June 15, she noted the town of Milton had asked the architect – the same firm that designed the new facility in Quincy – to go back to the drawing board to try to reduce costs on an animal shelter proposed in that town.

“You are doing that for the town of Milton. You’re not being asked to do that for the city of Quincy,” Mahoney said. “I think this council needs to ask you to go back and do that. You need to tighten your belt and come back with something we can afford to do.”

ENTRANCE of the planned new Quincy Animal Shelter on Quarry Street. The building is “nestled” into the hillside in order to save on site costs, according to the building’s architect. Rendering courtesy city of Quincy.

The new Quincy Animal Shelter will be located at 99 Quarry St., adjacent to the city’s dog park, and will replace the current animal shelter on Broad Street, where the city is building a new public safety headquarters.

At the June 15 hearing, Sandra Sines, the president of the Quincy Animal Shelter, said the city’s residents and animals would both be well-served by the new facility.

“Since we began in 1999, the city of Quincy has changed in so many positive ways,” she said. “The residents of the city of Quincy and the animals we serve deserve this new shelter. The Quarry Street shelter will allow us to continue our work and support the community for generations to come.”

The new building on Quarry Street will contain about 14,900 square feet of space, down from the initial 21,000-square-foot facility that was presented in 2017. The building will have capacity for 84 animals when it opens: 30 cats and 8 dogs ready for adoption, 32 cats and 11 dogs not ready for adoption, and 3 of the Police Department’s canines at a given time. Each animal-holding area will have its own exercise yard for those animals.

The building will include a reception area, interview rooms where residents looking to adopt a pet can meet with shelter staff, and support areas, such as space for food preparation and bowl cleaning, laundry and administrative offices. It will also have space for sheltering the pets of evacuees.

The building will feature a clinic on site with an exam room – to be used by both the shelter and animal control – a treatment area, a surgery prep room, and a single room for spaying, neutering and surgery. The 2017 proposal had a larger on-site clinic than what is now included in the plan.

The city plans to go to bid for the building over the summer and begin construction in late September. It should be substantially complete in November 2023 and ready for occupancy in January 2024.

The $15 million bond includes $13.95 million for construction costs, $100,000 each for fees to utility companies, materials testing and geo-tech, and furnishings, plus $750,000 for contingencies. The $3.55 million bond approved in 2017 was used to complete the design of the project and also paid for site work.

Before the Quincy Animal Shelter can move into the new building, it will relocate to a temporary home on East Squantum Street, which Paul Hines, the city’s commissioner of public buildings, told councillors on June 15 is being renovated at a cost of $1 million. Those costs are being paid for with relocation funds included in one of the bonds for the public safety building, he said.

Workers in the Public Buildings Department will move into the facility on East Squantum Street once the shelter moves out, Hines said. They are currently based out of North Quincy High School.

In a separate 7-1 vote on Tuesday, councillors approved using eminent domain to acquire a leasehold interest in the building on East Squantum Street and 2.7 acres of nearby land. Hines on June 15 said the agreed-to fee for the taking is $150,000.