Charleston’s Slack Street recycling center may be in line for a major face lift.
Members of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority voted Tuesday to accept bids to repaint the recycling facility and pave the lot surrounding the building.
“There’s a possibility we’ll be paying close to $100,000 for this project,” Rod Watkins, chairman of the Solid Waste Authority board, told other board members.
Watkins passed out bid specifications at a regular meeting Tuesday to both repaint the 100-year-old recycling center and completely pave the surrounding lot, where the public comes to drop of recyclable materials in massive steel bins. The lot is now only partly paved, and is bumpy and full of holes.
Watkins said each project is expected to cost between $30,000 and $50,000.
When West Virginia Recycling Services took over operations of the recycling center last year, owner George Hunyadi paid to make repairs and upgrades to the building itself. Solid waste officials gave up running the recycling center because they didn’t think they could afford the cost of repairs.
However, Watkins said he thought the Solid Waste Authority should take care of the outside of the building and the recycling site.
“In a way, it’s putting lipstick on a pig,” Watkins said, adding that the facility is old and historically has been an eyesore.
But, he said, “Every recycling center looks that way. It needs to look as inviting as possible.”
When the solid waste board was trying to decide whether to try to fix up Slack Street or find another location for a county recycling center, board members set up a fund for construction that now contains about $132,000. Watkins said that money could be used for paving and painting.
Not all members of the board were sure paving and painting at Slack Street was a good idea. Charleston City Councilwoman Kasey Russell, who also sits on the solid waste board, questioned whether the Solid Waste Authority should keep pumping money into a 100-year-old facility.
“Is that the best investment for our future?” asked Russell, who has long supported building a new, state-of-the-art recycling facility somewhere in Kanawha County. “Are we throwing money away?”
Other board members said the solid waste board had to do something about the facility. Watkins said there wasn’t enough money to build a new recycling facility any time soon.
They agreed with Russell, however, on a suggestion to see if there is grant money available to help pay for the upgrades.
In the end, all board members voted in favor of putting the proposal out for bid.
“We’re putting lipstick on a pig, but it’s our pig,” said Solid Waste Authority board member Richard Milam.
Reach Rusty Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1215.