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Construction on the county’s new solid waste facility began Thursday and officials say the center should open in four months.
Newly hired Solid Waste Director Rick Solomon said construction, originally scheduled for an August/September completion date, was delayed because of weather.
“We’re putting up the building as we speak – it’s exciting to see it rise from the ground,” he said. “The consultant has said mid-November, that’s if we don’t have any weather issues. That’s the target date. When they started this – I wasn’t aboard then – we had a lot of rainy weather, and they couldn’t get out there and work on the elevation, so right off the bat, it put them behind. Other than that, we haven’t lost that much time due to weather, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
The Shelby County 109 Board – with board chair Rusty Newton, Tom Rockaway and Kerry Magan – is the entity in charge of solid waste for the county, and put the $3.2 million project on Windhurst Way, near Martinrea Heavy Stamping, out to bid last October. Except for adding an additional scale, the design for the facility is the same as when the board presented it to the Shelby County Fiscal Court and to the public in Feb. 2013.
Shelby County Deputy Judge-Executive Rusty Newton, who was interim solid waste director until Solomon was hired in May, said the $40,000 scale would not increase the projected $2.5 million construction cost – the rest of the cost was for land and administrative fees.
Tim Ball, the Project Coordinator for Infrastructure Renewal Services in Louisville, said the site has really started progress in the last week or so.
“We started putting up the metal recycling building last Thursday, so you’ll see a metal skeleton up,” he said. “All the metal dirt work is done, so they’ve moved massive amounts of dirt; there’s final grading that needs to take place. It has been temporarily seeded, so grass is coming up.
“They’re starting to put in drain pipes for the site now, and they’re starting to place the concrete for the areas where the actual solid waste will be collected, where the dumpsters will be sitting.”
Newton said it’s important that people know that the old solid waste facility in Waddy will stay open until the Windhurst Way location opens.
“In Waddy, it will not close until the new one is up and running,” he said. “We’re looking forward to getting the new facility open to the public; it’s a facility that we feel that everyone will find is easier to use and more accessible.”
After the 109 Board presented the proposal for the new facility around in 2012, and moved forward last year after a joint Shelby County/Shelbyville plan for countywide curbside trash and recycling service fell through.
While the Waddy Convenience Center has always been free – funded by the 109 boar’s 3.5 cents per $100 tax rate – the new center will charge for household and bulk trash.
There will be no charge for brush and compost, fill material or recyclable materials, including computers, plastic, batteries, appliance, motor oil, newspapers, aluminum cans, steel, cardboard, paper, glass, ink jets, toner cartridges and cell phones.
However, officials maintain that it will be a significant upgrade
The new center
The facility uses 4 acres of the 25-acre parcel and consists of a 30,000-square-foot building.
Solomon said he is looking forward to getting established in the new facility.
“I am so excited, so ready to get out there and get it going and get the work out, and hopefully, it will create a lot of recyclables for the county,” he said.
“I think once we get this thing up and running, then I think Rusty will go after some grants through the state, that way we’ll be able to get trailers out and start rotating trailers and try to get recycling in the school, and would like to bring in Anderson County’s recyclables and maybe even Henry County’s,” he said. “I haven’t approached those counties yet, but I think they’d be favorable to that. The state, when you go after grants, they tend to lean more toward regional, you get more money for your products when you do it in volume.”
Though Val Shirley will continue to be the recycling supervisor, handling those day-to-day activities, Solomon will handle the administrative duties, Newton said, which includes any long-term visions and goals for recycling as well as solid waste.
“The key to recycling is, it has to be convenient,” Solomon said. “You can’t use two gallons of gas for a load of cardboard. So we’re going to try to make it just as convenient as we can.”
And to keep that focus on recycling, Newton said the 109 Board has now decided to keep the 7th Street Recycling Center open, although likely unmanned.
“As of right now, the plan is that the recycling center probably will not be completely closed,” he said. “This is just to make it a little more convenient for people, and we plan to do the same thing throughout different parts of the county to make it more accessible for people to recycle, people can bring aluminum cans, cardboard, and paper.