Glenwood Council all ears on recycling center decision
Glenwood Springs City Council will host a public discussion later this month to explain the recent decision to relocate the city’s free recycling center to the South Canyon Landfill in order to make way for a land swap with the school district for the existing in-town site on School Street.
That meeting will also provide an opportunity for the city to entertain any alternative ideas that people might have about maintaining a recycling facility somewhere in town.
For now, though, the decision stands to move the recycling drop-off center to the landfill, council members indicated during a Thursday morning work session.
“I do think we need to open this up to some public discussion,” Mayor Mike Gamba said, noting the amount of ear-bending and email comments he and other council members have gotten over the decision.
The topic will be up for discussion at council’s Jan. 19 meeting.
The city announced in late December that it plans to close the current facility by Feb. 25 and reopen the new landfill recycling drop-off facility March 1 with expanded hours and days.
The move is necessary to allow for a previously approved land swap with the Roaring Fork School District. The district plans to use what’s now the recycling center property as part of the new Glenwood Springs Elementary School campus. The city in turn will take ownership of the Vogelaar Park parcel north of the school, which is likely to be redeveloped as part of the confluence master plan.
Among the critics of the recycling center decision is John Haines, who spoke before council during its regular session Thursday night.
“People are a lot like water and electricity … they take the path of least resistance,” he said in arguing that people won’t make the four-mile drive to the landfill in lieu of an in-town recycling center.
“You have made recycling pretty easy in the city,” Haines said. That goes for city residents and other users like himself who live outside city limits.
“I do pay taxes in the city, though,” he said.
Numerous other residents and out-of-town recycling center users have objected to the decision in letters to the editor, Facebook posts and direct comments to council members.
Most have said the landfill, located west of town up Garfield County Road 134, is too far a drive to encourage people to continue to recycle.
The city considered several in-town sites to relocate the facility, including the municipal airport off South Midland Avenue and Airport Road. That site in particular has its own problems related to an insufficient street network to serve the area, Gamba said.
Given that the city has been adamantly opposed to any new development on that end of town, and has imposed a six-month moratorium on new land-use applications along Midland Avenue, it would be “silly” to add more traffic, he said.
According to the city’s landfill supervisor, King Lloyd, about 160 cars are in and out of the recycling center on a typical drop-off day.
Last spring, the city also looked at building a temporary recycling center on city-owned land along Devereux Road that is to eventually house the new electric utility offices. But it made more sense to combine recycling operations at the landfill, which already collects commingled recyclable materials, paper and cardboard, for free.
“We can look at all of these sites again, but I don’t know that we’ll have a different result,” City Manager Debra Figueroa said during the morning discussion. “If someone has a good idea, we’re open to it.”
The city is currently taking an informal poll of recycle center users to find out where people who use the facility reside, and the mix of city residents versus non-residents.
Any in-town facility would need to have fencing and other security, Glenwood Public Works Director Robin Millyard said. The problem is finding a piece of city-owned land in town that would be big enough and easily accessible, he said.
Some people have suggested working with private landowners to find a location. But that’s not something the city wants to pursue.
The new landfill location will come with expanded hours and days for dropping off recyclable materials as compared to the current facility. The city is adding an extra day, Friday, to the schedule, in addition to Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. An extra hour is also being added on each of the days the facility will be open.
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