Reichert unveils green initiatives for Macon

pramati@macon.comFebruary 22, 2013 

Macon Mayor Robert Reichert announced Friday a number of green initiatives the city plans to take as part of its 2013 strategic plan.

“We want a greener, cleaner, more sustainable and more attractive community in which to live,” Reichert said at the news conference at Macon City Hall.

Perhaps most notable among the plans announced is the city’s Public Works Department adding glass items to the single stream recycling program it operates in the InTown, Shirley Hills, Vineville and Wimbish Road neighborhoods.

Reichert spokesman Chris Floore said the change was possible because the city switched vendors to the locally based Advanced Disposal Service from a Griffin-based firm. Not only does switching vendors allow for glass recycling to be included, but it also saves money from transporting the material to Griffin, Floore said.

Public Works Director Richard Powell said the city earns $20 to $30 per ton it recycles. About 80 tons of material was collected in December and January from the city’s single stream and newspaper recycling programs.

Nathan Dees, president of InTown Macon Neighborhood Association, said his neighborhood has been part of the single stream program since the beginning.

“We’ve had a lot of participation,” Dees said. “We have a lot of volume. But it’s always hard to remember not to put glass (in the recycling bin). This will be simpler.”

Dees said the neighborhood’s attitude toward recycling has always been favorable, since refurbishing the historic homes there is a form of recycling in itself.

Other initiatives that Reichert announced include:

• A recently begun weekend street cleaning program in which members of the community can volunteer to clean up litter and debris in lieu of paying a fine. The Public Works Department also incorporates prison work details in the program.

In the past month, community service crews have collected about 6,000 pounds of trash, while the prison crews have cleaned up another 5,100 pounds in various parts of the city.

• Plans to plant 250 trees in the city per year. Reichert noted that the city already has planted some trees in Rosa Parks Square, and wants to include money in next year’s budget to purchase more trees. Reichert said it costs roughly $500 per tree, which includes planting it and maintaining it.

• Getting ready to tear down the former Boys & Girls Club building located off Second Street and turn it into a passive park. Reichert said the Public Works Department plans on tearing the building down in the near future and recycling the bricks and metal in the building. The city would still need partners for the second phase of the plan, to build the park. The plan is part of the Second Street Corridor master plan, Reichert said.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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