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Archive for Sunday, January 12, 2014

City to consider nearly $1 million land purchase for solid waste facility

January 12, 2014

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The daily parade of trash trucks through the heart of East Lawrence may become a thing of the past.

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday will consider spending nearly $1 million to purchase an approximately 11-acre site along the Kansas Turnpike to house the city's solid waste division and fleet of trash trucks.

The trash trucks — about 70 of them in total — currently are housed at 11th and Haskell and frequently are among the first things residents in the neighborhood hear each morning. The trucks begin their routes about 6 a.m. on most days.

"We think this new site would have some really good advantages," said Tammy Bennett, the city's assistant director of public works. "We're talking about moving to an area that already is really used to truck traffic."

The proposed site is at 2201 Kresge Road, which is adjacent to the Kmart Distribution Center, just north of the Kansas Turnpike. The 10.7-acre site currently is being used by Koch Trucking. The site comes with a 9,200 square-foot building. The city is proposing to pay $995,000 for both the real estate and the building.

Getting the trash trucks out of the East Lawrence neighborhood has been a goal — although city officials say the facility has been in place so long that complaints from neighbors are rare — but other factors are driving the timing of the city's proposed purchase.

Primarily, the city needs to find a new home for the Household Hazardous Waste drop-off facility. The current household hazardous waste facility has been located in borrowed space at the Douglas County Public Works facility on 23rd Street. The hazardous waste facility will have to vacate that space in the next year or so as Douglas County relocates its public works facility to a location out by the Douglas County Jail.

A concept plan for the Kresge Road site calls for the construction of a 5,000 square foot building that could house the household hazardous waste program. City officials are still firming up cost estimates, but believe the facility likely would cost about $500,000 to build. They are hopeful to qualify for some state grant funding, Bennett said.

Corliss said a new hazardous waste facility likely will need to be in place within the next 12 months. As for when trash trucks may move from East Lawrence to the site, Corliss said that may not happen until late 2015 or early 2016. That move will require additional construction, including a building addition and a fueling station for the trash trucks. The concept plan has been designed to accommodate a compressed natural gas fueling station on site, if the city decides to convert its fleet over to the CNG fuel source.

Bennett said the property at 11th and Haskell likely will be taken over by the city's street maintenance department, which already shares the space with the solid waste division.

"The property is really cramped right now," Bennett said. "The street maintenance crews could make use of the space immediately because they are bursting at the seems. They probably are the most enthusiastic advocate for us to leave."

City commissioners will consider approving a deal to purchase the site — which currently is owned by Stan Koch & Sons Trucking Inc. — at their 6:35 p.m. meeting on Tuesday.

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