City considers local recycling center

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Jay Baker and Teller County Waste are close to opening a recycling center in Woodland Park. If all goes well with the bureaucratic hoops, Woodland Park residents can expect to have free recycling by the first part of July.

The center depends upon the company’s securing approval from the city for the annexation of 1.84 acres on West Street, the current site of TCW, as well as a zoning change from commercial to Community Commercial.

“The city is recommending approval of the annexation and zoning,” said Sally Riley, the city’s planning director. “If approved, the next step is for Mr. Baker to obtain a conditional use permit for his contractor services and vehicle-maintenance facility.”

As well, Baker will have to obtain a special-use permit for the recycling center, Riley added.

This is Baker’s second attempt to host a recycling center. After a year of collection at the Woodland Park Walmart, when people put everything, including the kitchen sink, in the bins, Baker shut down the site in April 2009.

This time around, Baker has built in safeguards to ensure that infractions don’t occur. “The recyclables are fully contained in a regular trash truck; the site will be staffed six days a week,” Baker said. “We’ll lock it in the evening.”

In response to negative comments from a few neighbors, Baker is implementing an improvement plan to include: screening and landscaping, updated traffic flow, new location for vehicle parking, buffer screen, new grading and video surveillance.

Baker, who declined to name an estimate, has gone to considerable expense to open the recycling center. In addition to funding a drainage study and vehicle-traffic count, he has pledged to maintain the integrity of the county’s portion of the road from the site to U.S. 24.

In opening the center, Baker is responding to customer demand, opinions gleaned from a survey.

“Ninety percent of our Woodland Park customers said they would support a recycling center,” he said. “We take it straight down to Best Way recycling, no sorting, everything stays in the truck.”

Recyclables are paper, cardboard, glass and plastic but not batteries, appliances or vehicle tires.

Baker’s site is in response to the city’s strategic plan which includes goals to become sustainable and encourage recycling among the citizens.

“Ninety-percent of what goes into these trash trucks that go to the dump are recyclables,” he said.

Through the years, Baker has been a vital contributor to the city’s wellbeing. He and his company support 10 athletic teams and his beneficiaries include the Main Street Makeover, Habitat for Humanity, Choices and Help the Needy.

In his spare time, he is the volunteer bus driver for the city’s senior citizens for day trips and some overnight outings, Cheyenne Frontier Days this summer, for instance.

The recycling center, at 1000 and 1050 West Street, if approved, is free to the public and will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

“We will continue to offer curbside free recycling to Teller County Waste customers,” Baker said.

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