Bedell Road residents oppose town plans for $1.2 million parks maintenance building
by Larry Austin
Terry Schweitzer, division manager for Republic Services, the Town of Grand Island's trash and recycling hauler, said he's heard all about what he can do with his company's new 95-gallon recycling carts.
Though recycling with the new carts doesn't start until June 2, the town government and Republic Services have already heard plenty of people trash the new carts as they are being delivered all over town this week.
That's nothing new to Schweitzer. In Arkansas, where Republic did a similar program as is now underway on the Island, replacing bins with wheeled carts, he was told so often to stick the company's new carts where the sun doesn't shine, that he told one irate caller, "There's no more room."
Residents said the carts are too big, with one calling it a "monstrosity." In a letter to the Town Board, Theodore Giaquinto Sr. said, "The old adage bigger is better is not true in this case." He asked who from the town would assist those "who may be unable to lug these large totes to the street even half filled during inclement weather."
Town Supervisor Mary Cooke said the decision to switch from bins to 95-gallon carts was made jointly between the town and Republic to help the town avoid paying to burn and bury what could be recycled, among other reasons.
Republic Services officials said the new carts will result in an increase in recycled material, and they asked residents to have an open mind on the change.
"What we're asking residents is to really try it. You'll be surprised at how much recycling actually happens," Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer said people are resistant to change, but he asked people to "give it at least three months. Give it a really good, honest try."
Joe Zwirecki, Republic Services general manager, said there is always initial resistance to recycling changes. Zwirecki called the carts "designed to be very stable," adding that in other areas "there's been resistance, but then also the communities come along and have really grown to like the tote because it actually gives a lot of stability."
Residents blast board on building plans
Residents on Bedell Road also trashed the idea of a new parks maintenance building in their neighborhood.
The Town Board is considering leasing (with an option to buy) a $1.2 million parks maintenance building on private property adjacent to Veterans Park.
Eleven residents attended a meeting Wednesday night at the Grand Island Memorial Library to hear the board's plans and to provide feedback, all of it negative. The building would be approximately 300 feet from their property lines. The project would require the town to rezone the property from single-family residential to commercial.