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Knightstown recycling site closing

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Those who recycle in Knightstown will have to find other places to do their environmental duty beginning this week.

At Wednesday’s Henry County Solid Waste Management District board meeting, director/educator JoAnne McCorkle read a letter from Knightstown Town Council President Sarah F. Ward asking the recycle bins at the sewage treatment facility there be removed Monday, April 16.

“As I think you are aware, Knightstown is involved in an expensive sewer upgrade,” Ward’s letter said. “They will require that the plant access be locked so we can no longer have recycle bins in that area. Since we all pay a Three Rivers charge each year, we had hoped you would consider helping us with the cost of a fence for the area where we would relocate the recycle. Since you chose not to do this, the Knightstown Town Council voted to discontinue the recycle as of April 15. Since that falls on Sunday, please come on Monday, April 16 and remove your bins. Thank you.”

Kim Cronk, a member of the SWCD board, emphasized Knightstown had no choice in having the recycling bins removed. “IDEM (Indiana Department of Environmental Management) wrote them a citation and said it had to be moved for this project,” Cronk said.

“We understand that completely,” McCorkle said, “because of the amount of dollars being spent on the project and they don’t want John Q Public on the site potentially bothering equipment.”

What McCorkle and other members did have a problem with, however, was the town’s suggested relocation – where it used to be at County Road 775 West near Knightstown Community High School.

“In the past, some of our sites have had to be closed due to severe abuse,” McCorkle replied in a letter back to the Knightstown Town Board. “This was the case for the recycling site located at 775 West in Knightstown several years ago. When we were asked to contribute to the cost of fencing the site, we did not have confidence that fencing would keep the site from being abused again.”

McCorkle saw the abuse firsthand when the bins were at 775 West.

“It was just awful,” McCorkle told the board. Brenda (Bockover) and I were over there. We were over there a lot. They were leaving dirty diapers, trash and bedsprings, pool covers, you name it. The sites that are that isolated just welcome abuse. It’s a sad fact.”

The money issue would also set a precedent for the SWCD, McCorkle added, one not possible with current budget constraints.

“We would have to afford any similar request for monetary help from each of the other public recycling sites that are in Henry County,” McCorkle said.

Loss of the recycling site here will have a significant impact, according to McCorkle.

“In the past five years residents of Knightstown have recycled over 438 tons or 876,160 pounds of paper, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, phone books, hardback books, cardboard, paperboard, No. 1, 2 and 3 plastics, metal and bimetal food cans and glass,” McCorkle said. “All of this material was sent to East Central Recycling where it was sorted and baled for use in producing new products.”

McCorkle said she sympathized with town officials over money issues and the problems with finding a site that works.

“Usually the sites that work are where there is a lot of foot traffic or persons on the premises like the wastewater treatment plant or the public transit location in New Castle and those that are fenced so they can be closed of an evening,” McCorkle said. “The site that has little foot traffic and is isolated is too much of a temptation for abuse. The district welcomes any ideas or suggestions as to finding a new site for residents of Knightstown.”

McCorkle also emphasized recycling containers can be reset within a week of a new location being found.

In the meantime, Knightstown residents who recycle may use any of the other seven SWCD locations in Henry County. (See accompanying info box).

Knightstown Council Member Landon Dean perhaps echoed other sentiments about previous recycling experiences at County Road 775 West with his comment on the situation.

“Again, misuse of something by a few ruin it for everybody,” Dean said.

Meanwhile, the SWCD personnel have been “very busy” with the annual Tree Give Away, according to McCorkle. She said the district is partnering with Healthy Communities of Henry County to provide 1,700 trees for Henry County residents to plant in honor of Earth Day. The official observance of Earth Day – an observance dedicated to celebrate our planet’s beauty and urge practices to keep it that way – is Sunday, April 22.

In other business at the most recent SWCD meeting, several upcoming programs are being planned by district personnel including:

• Next week at Parker Elementary School in New Castle, first-grade students in Stacey Crane’s Parker Elementary School class will participate in flower planting and discussions about recycling.

• Wednesday, April 25 at the district office, personnel will provide a program in honor of Earth Day from 7 to 8 p.m.

COUNTY RECYCLING SITES

Here is a list of the Henry County Solid Waste District recycling sites across the county. There is also one in Mt. Summit, but according to the SWCD website, it is temporarily closed.

New Castle: South 25th and Broad Street (New Castle Transit Station)

New Castle: West side of North 12th Street (directly opposite the New Castle Police Department)

Middletown: Behind Municipal building on Locust Street

Mooreland: Behind grocery store at corner of Mills Street & Cory Street

New Lisbon: Beside fire department/post office at Wilbur Wright Rd and County Road 500 South

Springport: Lot across from post office on South side of Main Street

Straughn: U.S. Hwy 40 East/post office parking lot

Sulphur Springs: Behind post office on Meridian Street