Columbia Utilities hears public feedback for proposed recycling drop-off center

By Paul Ploumis

COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia Solid Waste Utility held a meeting Tuesday night requesting public feedback regarding a proposed recycling drop-off center at the intersection of Oakland Gravel Road and Vandiver Drive.

The project will cost an estimated $325,000 from the city's Solid Waste Enterprise Revenues.

Six people showed up to the in-person meeting Tuesday night, but Steve Hunt, utility manager for the city of Columbia, said many questions and comments were emailed to him.

"We're hoping this facility might not replace the facility we lost but give residents who live on the northeast part of Columbia a closer area to take their recycling," Hunt said. 

Hunt said he hopes the new containers will help decrease any overflow of recycling in containers downtown.

The main concerns with the new center from citizens was the location and the amount of traffic. Two residents who live down Oakland Gravel Road said the area is already pretty busy as it is.

"There's already a lot of issues with traffic in the area," Jeff Cox said. "Lots of traffic coming from Vandiver, especially during rush hour. I don't know what needs to change in that intersection but we don't need to add more congestion."

Cox says he started working from home, but when he was working on the other end of town, he would drive his recycling over while he was on his way to work.

"Just because we have an area that isn't being utilized, given the complexity of the intersection, I don't think there's a lot of reason to add to it," Cox said.

Cox said he's not opposed to more drop-off facilities, just opposed to facilities in that area.

"I hope whoever decides these things goes and drives through the intersection at rush hour and experiences it from all angles and realizes that adding to that wouldn't be a good idea," Cox said.

The proposed recycling drop-off center will include up to 10 receptacles for fiber and plastics/tin/steel in an enclosed area, similar to the drop-off sites on State Farm Parkway and on the South Providence outer road just north of Nifong Boulevard.

According to a press release from Columbia Utilities, the scope of work for the project includes excavation, site grading, installation of concrete pavement, installation of a perimeter fence, signage, the installation of the recycling receptacles and the installation of storm water controls.

Another public meeting will be held Dec. 7. After the second meeting, Utilities will have to bring the proposal to Columbia City Council for a vote. If the project is approved, construction is expected to start during the summer.

City of Columbia Utilities staff may be contacted via the city's number at 573-874-CITY (2489) or via email at Waste-Mgmt@CoMo.gov.