Lots of work under way at troubled Macon landfill

The Macon city landfill is making progress on passing state inspection, Assistant Public Works Director Larry Dunning told the City Council’s Public Works & Engineering Committee on Tuesday.

“Overall the landfill is looking better,” said Dunning, who oversees the landfill.

But there’s a lot to do, because the landfill is under two consent orders from the state Environmental Protection Division: one for groundwater and landfill operations, and the other for air quality, he said. Altogether there are 19 problems that must be corrected.

“Everything has to be done by October 11 on all issues,” Dunning told the committee.

In October, the city was hit with a $35,000 state fine for landfill violations. Administration officials said they would give Public Works Director Richard Powell the help and equipment needed to meet state standards. To resolve related air pollution issues, the city is installing more methane monitoring and controlling equipment. That was expected to cost about $400,000 but will actually take half that amount, interim Chief Administrative Officer Dale Walker said.

The city has bought four more traps to catch wild hogs that root in the trash, bringing the total to seven, Dunning said. Fifteen acres have been seeded with grass, despite the wilting heat, and another 15 acres will be planted soon, he said.

Six hundred tons of rock have been bought to use as erosion-fighting riprap in ditches, Dunning said.

“The ditches were a big issue,” he said.

A detail of state prisoners will lay the riprap and pick up litter at the landfill four days a week, Dunning said.

Apartment tour

Lake View Club Apartments and its surrounding amenities, at 2800 Masseyville Road, have seen big changes in the past year under new ownership. Tuesday afternoon, the council’s Public Properties Committee took a van trip to tour the complex, which is behind Bowden Golf Course.

The 144-unit complex used to have various recreation facilities, including a ballroom, swimming pool, carousel, bowling alley, bumper car arena and a miniature train that crossed a lake on a bridge. But that was in its heyday, perhaps 25 years ago, Councilman Lonnie Miley said.

A year ago it was very run-down, Councilwoman Elaine Lucas said, but new owner Wayne Rowland has pumped money and care into it.

The wooden bridge is still in disrepair, but the swimming pool is now cleared of rocks and concrete and is back in use.

The ballroom is being renovated, the old carousel site will become a lakeside pavilion and the bowling alley will be turned into a conference center.

Rowland said the property was close to demolition two years ago, in escrow after a failed attempt to turn it into senior-citizen housing.

A recent arrival to Macon from California, Rowland said he’s glad to be helping with the revitalization of east Macon, the oldest part of the city, and hopes Lake View Club will again become a popular site for public and private gatherings such as concerts and weddings.

“The simple thing to do is replace neglect with attention,” he said. “That’s all.”

One thing they’d like to see is a covered bus stop on the corner of Masseyville Road and Lake Shore Drive, Rowland said.

Councilman Rick Hutto said he’d already been discussing that with Rick Jones, CEO of the Macon Transit Authority.

“We were working on that today,” Hutto said.

To contact writer Jim Gaines call 744-4489.