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Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Lots sought for recycling center

Franklin Township

By Shelley Grieshop
A local company is seeking several county-owned lots in Franklin Township to start a business where materials can be sorted for recycling.
Greg Gargis, owner of Dumpsterman Container Services in Celina, made a presentation this week to Mercer County commissioners to purchase at least two lots for his proposed plan. He also asked commissioners for a "first right of purchase" on two other lots.
Following Gargis's presentation, commissioners requested a more detailed plan before making a decision. Commissioners Jerry Laffin and John Bruns said Federal Aviation Administration regulations for the nearby Lakefield Airport would have to be reviewed. They also wanted confirmation that debris would be confined.
The county owns the land in the Franklin Industrial Park near the airport outside of Montezuma. Currently, there are seven lots for sale; most measure about 2 1/2 acres. Lot prices are approximately $10,000 per acre.
The lots Gargis is interested in are located directly behind S&K Products along U.S. 127.
Gargis's company serves a five-county area and deals mainly with the collection and disposal of construction and demolition (C&D) waste. Currently, nearly everything he gathers is taken to a landfill in Indiana, he said.      Gargis, who lives in Franklin Township, believes he could reduce by nearly 30 percent the waste he sends to the landfill if he creates a facility where debris can be separated for recycling purposes. He'd like to go green, which could save him about $75,000 per year in landfill fees, he told commissioners.
"It's not good management on my part," he said of his current practice, adding he plans to focus on the recycling of wood and metals.
He proposes to mulch all the wood products he receives and sell it locally.
"There's a market for that out here," he said, adding that out-of-town businesses currently reap the profits from local residents.
Gargis said he won't be in competition with the city of Celina or the recycling center in Chickasaw.
"Paper, cardboard, plastic, glass ... we don't want that," he added.
He believes the industrial park would be a good location for such a facility and has already discussed his proposal with the local zoning inspector, he said. His current facility at 600 S. Mill St., Celina, is not an ideal spot because it is located next to land the city intends to use to extend a bike path, he said.
Bruns questioned whether the sorting of materials would be done inside a building or outside. Gargis said EPA standards don't require him to have an enclosed area, unlike the handling of solid waste. However, he'd like to perform the work in an enclosed building that he also could use to store vehicles and increase the value of the lot.
"I think enclosing this building is the best thing to do. I'll clean up every night and park my trucks inside," he said.
Gargis currently has six employees and would initially increase that number to at least eight, he said. If the mulching endeavor is successful, he would likely add three more jobs, he said.
Bruns questioned how many dumpster containers would be sitting on the lot at one time. Gargis said of the 182 "boxes" he owns, usually no more than 50 or 60 are on-site at any given time.
Gargis said he also hauls hazardous waste but never brings it back to his business. The toxic waste goes straight to the dumping area and the dumpsters are cleaned off-site before returning, he said.
Although Gargis was satisfied with only a gravel road access to the lots he'd like to purchase, commissioners discussed paving the route. Laffin said the county might be able to get funding for the infrastructure from grant and/or loans through the state or federal government.
Also discussed as a possible source to pay for infrastructure costs was the county's revolving loan fund, which promotes job creation and retention.
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