WILMINGTON — With the backing of the local Solid Waste District (SWD) and a potential arrangement with the City of Wilmington, the Village of Blanchester is hopeful of starting a curbside recycling service.
A key is whether the town is awarded a $62,600 Recycle Ohio Grant, and Clinton County SWD Coordinator Jeff D. Walls said Wednesday he feels confident that will happen.
The grant plus funds from Blanchester and the SWD would enable the purchase of 65-gallon recycling carts to all households — approximately 1,500 — and some small businesses in the municipality.
If a deal can be worked out with the City of Wilmington, the monthly cost to Blanchester residents is anticipated to be less than $2 per household, according to Walls.
Presently, there is a drop-off recycling site at the Blanchester Kroger parking lot. Walls reported that a survey of Blanchester residents shows about 80 percent of residents interested in a curbside program. About 45 percent of residents reported participating in the existing drop-off program.
The City of Wilmington Sanitation Department is in the process of enhancing its residential curbside recycling service to an automated collection system using 65-gallon recycling carts. The Village of Blanchester hopes to partner with Wilmington to provide the same method of collection for its residents, according to Blanchester Village Councilman Don Gephart.
The recyclables targeted in the Blanchester program would be co-mingled items such as plastic bottles, jugs and jars; glass bottles, jugs and jars; aluminum beverage cans; steel food cans; and newspapers, magazines and office paper.
The grant application states: “By securing its own recycling carts and partnering with the City of Wilmington, the Village of Blanchester will secure a much sought-after program for its residents, and provide a blueprint to other rural communities in Clinton County for partnering together to provide such a program as well.”
The recipients of the Recycle Ohio Grant, sponsored by the Ohio EPA, will be announced in May. If Blanchester receives its request, the timeline for delivery of carts and service is slated for October or November 2018. But if there is a delay in the process, cart delivery and service might not begin until March or April 2019 because it is not recommended to roll out a new curbside recycling program during the winter months.
Walls and Gephart gave a presentation to the county commissioners because commissioners will need to OK the SWD contributing $21,300 toward matching funds. All three commissioners voiced support for the project Wednesday. Blanchester has said it will provide $10,000 in matching funds.
Clinton County Commissioner Brenda K. Woods, for her part, said, “Anytime we have an opportunity to extend the curbside program in the county, it’s a plus for everyone. I’m anxious to see if the grant is awarded and hopefully it is, and this will be a good partnership for everyone.”
Clinton County Commissioner Patrick Haley said the program would benefit a lot of people, and recommended a long- term contract between Blanchester and Wilmington.
And Clinton County Commissioner Kerry R. Steed said he fully supports the proposal, and brought up the importance of being mindful about the sustainability of a program.
On another matter, commissioners held a discussion with Clinton County Engineer Jeff Linkous about the commissioners’ pilot project involving $20,000 set aside to assist townships with grant dollars they can apply for. Linkous said his department presently does a lot of partnering with townships, and he’s willing to extend that in connection with the new grant program.
One thing that came out of Wednesday’s conversation is that for this first year anyway, there may be one or two types of projects for the townships’ grant applications to address — say, ditches and/or safety. That, suggested Linkous, could change from year to year.
Commissioners still have details to work out regarding the process of selecting grant recipients. There are 13 townships in the county.
Adams Township Trustee Tyler Webb attended the session and contributed thoughts from the township perspective.
Tunnel under courthouse
Linkous also spoke with commissioners about having experts perform a structural analysis of the conditions of the waterway tunnel under the courthouse. There are signs of deterioration but the extent is not known, he said.
Steed gave the News Journal some background on the tunnel. Historical references, he said, indicate the south side of the courthouse square was a mud bog with poor drainage, and the elected officials at the time chose the site to assist in cleaning up and developing an area that otherwise would be unusable.
“They had to create a waterway that aided in drainage and allowed the building of the courthouse,” stated Steed.
An evaluation of the tunnel will allow the commissioners to do better financial planning in terms of when, as well as what kind of repairs will be needed, said Linkous.
The concrete tunnel is about six feet tall and 14 to 16 feet wide, according to the county engineer.
Commissioners support nurse
for Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame
The three commissioners gave their official support to the candidacy of Mary Taylor Adams from Wilmington to be enrolled in the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. She was the first woman in Ohio to volunteer for nursing service during the Civil War, according to the letter of support.
At age 23 in 1861, she reported to Camp Dennison for duty, finding there were no hospital facilities. There was a barn, however.
“Thoroughly cleaning with spade and shovel, and placing straw and blankets on the fresh earth, Mary made the barn ready to receive the first wounded Union soldiers,” states the letter.
She served at Camp Dennison for four years.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.