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October 06, 2011 9:42 am

Recycling center slated to open at new location Oct. 17

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Curbside Recycling in charge of commercial cardboard collection

Being in the business of reusing and salvaging, it’s only fitting that Powell Valley Recycling is repurposing an older building into a new center to fit its needs. Reconstruction of the former Park County road and bridge shop is under way, and after some delays, the recycling center is on track to open in its new location this month.

The center is slated to close its Hamilton Street location at noon on Friday, Oct. 14 and open at 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17 at the new location, just across the street from the western water tower.

Recycling leaders had hoped the new center would be ready by mid-July or August, but the process has taken longer than expected, said Mary Jo Decker, recycling manager.

“It’s just taken time,” she said. “We started some of this (paperwork) in May 2009 — it’s been a while.”

The new 7,200-square-foot facility and 3 acres of land provide room for growth, and plans are in the works to build additional cold storage space at the site, she said.

The project is financed through the rural development arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a $127,000 loan and $68,000 grant package. The center also received a $50,000 grant through the Moyer Foundation and $8,000 from the Park County Commission, which is being used toward electrical work.

“At the end of it, all we have is a $127,000 loan. The rest of it is paid for through grants,” she said.

Powell Valley Recycling purchased the building from Park County at a net cost of $120,000, a 50 percent discount from its appraised value of $240,000. The sale closed in March.

Decker declined to release the bid amounts for the reconstruction work, saying that, as a nonprofit organization, Powell Valley Recycling wasn’t required to go through the public bidding process. It was required to receive three different bids for reconstruction work, and along with the USDA, selected Wildfire Construction of Powell as the general contractor. Other local businesses working on the project include Powell Electric, Brixen Painting of Powell and Sanders Plumbing and Heating. Decker said she is a “firm, firm believer in using local contractors.”

The new location is among other changes in local recycling operations.

Curbside Recycling is now in charge of collecting cardboard from commercial businesses in Powell. Under a one-year agreement approved by the Powell City Council this summer, Curbside Recycling will receive $34,560 for the citywide service.

Under the previous arrangement, the city and Powell Valley Recycling shared the responsibilities for all commercial cardboard collection, with an employee from each organization using a city-owned vehicle for the service.

After disagreement about who was responsible for maintenance of the truck and mutual concerns about cost, the city and recycling center decided to have an independent contractor oversee the collection. Curbside took over in July, though the city continues to collect baled cardboard at Pamida and Food Basket IGA and paper products at the Tribune.

To pay for the $34,560 contract, all fees paid by commercial cardboard customers will go directly to Curbside Recycling — amounting to $6,400 annually. In addition, Powell Valley Recycling will pay Curbside $6,160 annually and the city will make up the remaining $22,000. The city’s share was determined by calculating how much it had cost the city to partner in the cardboard pick-up — including employee time, fuel, equipment and repairs, said City Administrator Zane Logan. Logan said the city should know if the arrangement is cost-effective after the first year.

Laura Scarbro, owner of Curbside Recycling, said she hopes this is a foot in the door and shows “private industry has a place in our garbage solution.”

With Powell’s landfill closing to household trash next year and the city constructing a transfer station, Scarbro stressed the importance of recycling and questioned why residents continue to put recyclables into the landfill.

While the agreement for cardboard collection is only for one year, Scarbro said she hopes it becomes a continuing arrangement.

Powell Valley Recycling will continue to operate at 535 North Hamilton St. until the new center’s Oct. 17 opening.

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