Council cans recycle center
The idea of putting a recycling center at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 23rd Street was canned Thursday.
Despite some support from locals and council members alike, the center’s proposed location threatened to be too much of an eyesore.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s absolutely the wrong place for it,” Mayor Don Vanderhoof said.
While each of the six council members present at Thursday’s meeting said they’re generally in favor of recycling, three said they couldn’t bear to see the center on the city’s main drag.
“I don’t have any problems with the concept of recycling, I have a lot of problems with this location,” Councilman Don Gillespie said. “Logic tells you that you don’t put garbage out there for everyone to see it.”
But as fervently as Vanderhoof, Gillespie and Councilman Larry Emery spoke against the center being located in such a conspicuous corner, three council members – Jean Martensen, Dave Merritt and Dan Richardson – fought just as hard in favor.
“I think it’s a good first start,” Merritt said. “Let’s see what we can do with it.”
When Vanderhoof suggested making the corner into a nice-looking park, Martensen suggested combining both uses.
“There’s no reason it can’t be a beautification project as well,” she said.
Richardson, who has employed environmental ideals as the cornerstone of his political platform during his first year on City Council, also pushed to approve the site for a recycling center.
“I really do think this is a good location,” he said. “I think there are many people in Glenwood who would utilize this.”
One of the key disagreements involves visibility. Those in favor of locating the center at 23rd and Grand say the more visible it is, the more people would use it. They also argued that a prominently placed center would cut down on people dumping nonrecyclables at the site.
“That’s my problem. You want it in a highly visible spot, I don’t want it in a highly visible spot,” Gillespie said. “So we’re going to become the regional recycling center, right? Everyone who drives up Highway 82 can dump whatever they want.”
He also reminded the others in council that in the previous two attempts to run a recycling center, people “took advantage of it by dropping off junk.”
Tresi Houpt, a Glenwood Springs resident who is also running for Garfield County commissioner, said the city would be “in good company if they put in a center.”
“Jackson Hole (Wyo.), Aspen, Basalt all have theirs in prominent locations. People would see you as a progressive city,” she said. “If done well, it would not become an eyesore, it would be an asset.”
Another part of the equation is the idea by Salvation Army administrator Karolyn Spencer that the people who use her day center – which could be temporarily located at the old gas station on the same intersection – could provide free manpower to run the recycling center.
“My board is interested in manning that site because we’re interested in having a work project for my people,” she said.
City public works director Robin Millyard, who created a design for the center that included non-see-through fencing, resurfacing and recycle containers, said the site would be a good way for the city to “get its feet wet” in recycling.
“I’m not saying this is the perfect site, but it’s a site we can get into fairly inexpensively,” he said. “This site allows us to get into the game and find out who we’d be serving.”
In the end, council wound up with a tie vote, 3-3, which means the motion to build a center in that location failed.
“I think we should take more time and look for another spot,” Vanderhoof said.
Council member Rick Davis was not in attendance Thursday for the vote.
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