Recycling drop to be enlarged and improved

The city recycling center soon will move west and closer to the Route 15 overpass, with an improved space, paved entrance, a better appearance and fencing to protect the environment nearby.

City Council authorized the conditional-use request Thursday by River Valley Transit, 1500 W. Third St.

The center remains along West Third Street, but is opening up so the transit center headquarters can prepare to install the public portion of the compressed natural gas fuel island in the near future.

Chris Keiser, a member of the city Planning Commission and employee at Larson Design Group, showed drawings of the improved recycling drop-off site. Council held a public hearing on the conditional use request, with no input, and later voted on the conditional use request.

Councilwoman Liz Miele’s questions concerned landscaping. Keiser said there would be two styles of fencing – board on board and another natural, split-rail with fencing behind that – to keep trash from entering Lycoming Creek or the creek bed.

The landscaping includes a rain garden out front and the paving will be done to minimize potential problems associated with any spills of liquid, making for easier clean up, especially with the water authority property nearby.

Lycoming County Commissioner Jeff Wheeland said the investment into the growing trend of single-stream recycling, which the county is investing more than $4 million in, doesn’t eliminate the drop-off sites across the county.

Wheeland said he believed the public should have the option to drop-off or work a deal with their haulers to have the recyclables placed in the emerging yellow-topped bins.

Councilman N. Clifford “Skip” Smith said he is hearing some haulers are upping their prices and charging additional costs to add removal of recyclables.

Some of the garbage haulers aren’t participating in the programs, however, and Wheeland said he didn’t believe it was the role of government to control free enterprise.

Wheeland sees fiscal value in eliminating residential curbside recycling while still keeping commercial curbside recycling available.

“It costs the county hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide that service,” Wheeland said.

Councilman Randall J. Allison said he looked forward to the new drop-off site which he said would improve function, aesthetics and would make recycling nicer to do.

Council President Bill Hall asked and found out that the brush and mulch area will remain intact.