Commonwealth Journal

February 1, 2013

City headed toward its own recycling program

By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

The county’s recent foray into providing a recycling pick-up service is inspiring anther entity to pursue a “green” path.
Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler announced during this week’s city council meeting that the city was in talks to provide city garbage pick-up customers with recycling bins. 
“I think we’re trying to get something together on it,” said Councilor Jim Mitchell on Friday.
Mitchell was approached by several constituents after Pulaski County government revealed it had secured a contract with Waste Connections that included recyclables pick-up. 
“They asked ‘If they’re doing it, why can we not do this?’” Mitchell said. 
That contract, the result of an extended effort and many negotiations on the part of the county’s 109 board, appears to be the first recycling contract in the state for a whole county. 
“Gerald Hines (Pulaski County Solid Waste Coordinator) has done a really good job with that,” said Councilor Tom Eastham during Monday’s meeting. 
County garbage pick-up customers now have 96-gallon containers to place beside their regular garbage cans once a month.
The city is hoping to provide a similar service, but Girdler said they’re looking at providing smaller, more manageable containers considering the many apartment buildings in the city limits. 
“What we’re thinking about doing is going with ... two small containers,” Girdler said. 
Mitchell said the city will be talking with Waste Connections and to Hines about the recycling service.
“The sooner we can get this, the better,” said Mitchell. “We’re going to stay on it.”
In other news from Monday’s Somerset City Council meeting, Councilor Pat Bourne asked whether the city was on-schedule to close the Columbia Street railroad crossing — a spot that has been labeled one of the most dangerous on Norfolk Southern Railroad’s system.
Girdler answered that the goal date of Feb. 15 is still in play. He said drivers will be informed of the closing one to two weeks before the closing. The crossing is a popular shortcut and it sees heavy vehicle traffic daily. 
Girdler said Norfolk Southern has also helped to design a pedestrian walk way, something the councilors felt was necessary considering the number of residents in the area who walk to the U.S. 27 strip. 
Councilor Jerry Wheeldon asked if the city’s engineers had looked at Park Avenue, which cuts between Columbia Street and Ogden Street and would be a main access road for Columbia Street residents after the crossing closes. 
Wheeldon has said residents in the West Columbia area try to avoid accessing U.S. 27 and Ky. 80 by way of Ogden Street. Park Avenue and Beck Street can be difficult to pull out from, especially amid heavy traffic. Wheeldon said the steep incline of Park Avenue is especially dangerous. 
 “We looked at it ... we’ve not really got an answer for you,” Girdler said on Monday. “(We) just hadn’t got together but we are working on it.” 
Girdler has said the city would look into placing its own warning lights and signs at the Ogden Street intersection and he said the city’s engineers would look at the situation as well.