New trash, recycling coming to north side of Washington

Alex Doty • Aug 14, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Soon, downtown businesses and residents on the north side of the second block of Washington Avenue will have something they’ve been asking for — new dumpster and recycling space.

“This got formally started by a number of merchants in those blocks of that side of Washington presenting a petition to City Council,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said. “They wanted to have access to recycling like what we have on the other side of Washington.”

According to McGinnis, both City Council and the Grand Haven Main Street board support the request, which would locate a new enclosure space in the parking lot between First and Second streets, adjacent to the VFW post.

City officials reached out to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for its Recycling Infrastructure Grant Program earlier this year, and were awarded $18,000, with a local match from the city of about $6,000.

The $24,000 project will involve the removal of the pavement and curb in the selected area, installation of a larger slab of pavement and accompanying curb, installation of a wooden cedar enclosure, installation of electrical infrastructure to accommodate future funding efforts toward a compactor, and the contracting of a recycling dumpster through Republic Waste Services.

"We started out looking at a dumpster with the ‘green’ roof, just like the ones on the south side (of Washington), and that was going to be in the $60,000 range,” McGinnis said. “We think for $24,0000, we can tear up that end of the parking lot, redirect the angle of the enclosure, and we're going to put up a wooden structure much like the one you see down at Chinook Pier or the marina.”

McGinnis noted that the new dumpster resources would be set up like a utility, in which all on the block would be required to participate in its use.

"The way we set up the ordinance on the other side (of Washington) is that once there's a publicly constructed enclosure with those resources available, recycling and refuse, nobody else in that block is allowed to have an outdoor dumpster,” he explained. “They're all compelled to buy into this community dumpster. Everybody got on board because it turned out to be cheaper for everybody.”

Like those in the downtown area, most on City Council are supportive of the plan.

“This is a great idea,” Councilman Mike Fritz said. “We have all these other dumpsters back there and the garbage trucks have to go back and forth, and it puts excess wear and tear on our infrastructure down there.”

Fritz said this single dumpster location should save the wear and tear on parking areas.

“Anytime we can eliminate the heavy usage, it extends the use of our parking lots," he said.

Mayor Geri McCaleb said she was “fully in support” of the plan.

“Some people think we spent a little too much money on the enclosures on the other side of Washington, so this is probably a functional and well-needed amenity,” she said. “I think we're doing well with this.”

Councilman Josh Brugger, who voted no on the grant agreement, said he wants to see the city look into outfitting the new enclosures with solar panels to power any adjacent light fixtures.

"I think we need to do more to prepare our city to prepare for the eventual closure of the Sims power plant on Harbor Island,” he said.

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