Rhea Robinson volunteers at the Central New York Spay and Neuter Assistance Program and has adopted animals from the program.
So when Robinson found out the organization needed a new building by the end of the year or faced closing, she jumped at the opportunity to help.
Robinson and her husband, Steve, bought in November a 2,400-squarefoot building at 17 Salisbury St., Cortland, which she will rent to the organization.
CNY SNAP officials said they were shocked.
“She hasn’t been a volunteer for us that long and so it was surprising,” said Janice Hinman, the executive director. “I think it takes a special person to do that.”
Robinson, who also works at Country Acres Animal Shelter in Homer, has been a volunteer for CNY SNAP for six months.
Robinson said she doesn’t see buying the building, for $110,000, as a big deal, although she bought it specifically to lease to CNY SNAP.
“I just didn’t want to see the program end because it’s essential to the community,” Robinson said.
Workers began looking for a new space in April.
Steve Compagni, whose business, Economy Paving, owns and shares the Central Avenue location, gave the nonprofit until the end of January to move so he could expand his business, Hinman said.
“Closing the program was very much becoming a reality,” volunteer Kaaren Pierce said. In October, Pierce said everyone at the program was looking for space, but what they found lacked important elements, like building and parking space.
The new building has the same space the organization has now, is on a deadend street and has parking. The organization expects to move into the building mid-January after the Robinsons finish painting and putting in flooring.
Before Robinson offered to rent the building, CNY SNAP was looking at a building on West Road that was half the space, Hinman said.
“We’re hoping this building will work long-term,” Hinman said. “It isn’t an easy program to keep going because we don’t make money on a service, so it was nice of her to step up and do this.”
The organization, which spays or neuters about 3,000 animals a year, works with both grants and the funds it receives through its services to stay open. Hinman said the program puts about $50,000 into the community to get animals spayed and neutered.
Hinman said the organization will offer two clinics a week until it is time to move, and will maintain two weekly clinics in the new facility.