Recycling facility plans halted in Zelienople
Zelienople will likely return a $248,000 state grant that would have helped with the development of a recycling and composting facility, borough council members said.
“There were so many unanswered questions,” said Councilwoman Mary Hess. “We can't put public money and public property at risk.”
Council last month voted to stop planning the facility, with members saying they weren't receiving enough information about it.
“Problems” arose, said Wes Hamilton, who for a time spearheaded the project through the nonprofit group CHZ.
“I'm not going to deny they existed,” he said, but he did not want to say what the problems were.
The recycling and composting facility was proposed for an area about 30 acres behind the Northgate Plaza in Jackson, on borough-owned property where three decommissioned reservoirs once held borough water.
Community volunteers had been planting varied types of foliage on the land.
Hamilton, 66, of Lancaster Township said the project could have included a classroom for public education, space for the borough to hold safety meetings, a wooded wetland area, a launch for canoes and kayaks into the Connoquenessing Creek and other amenities, and tie into land along the Connoquenessing.
Zelienople, Cranberry and Harmony residents would have used the facility.
“The concept is not a bad concept, but there's an awful lot of questions that couldn't be answered well,” borough Manager Don Pepe said.
Hess said council was concerned that an outside vendor could have made money off the composting.
“Another issue was that Zelienople owns the land, but we weren't sure how the whole agreement would work out with the multiple communities.”
Council also had environmental concerns. Pepe said that Cranberry wanted to use the facility to compost grass.
Without Cranberry's tonnage, Pepe said, the project wasn't financially feasible. But the grass raised concerns about odor and its impact on nearby residents, Pepe added.
The project also lost steam once Hamilton left CHZ, Pepe said.
Hamilton said he'd made no secret that he planned to step down after helping secure the grant, and that the project was taking too much of his time. Hamilton has a law practice in the borough.
“(Hamilton) is a hard-working, driven guy, there's no doubt,” Hess said. “But without him running the show, we weren't sure where it was going.”
The borough has to fill in the three empty reservoirs, but can do so at its own pace, and developing the land isn't out of the question, Pepe said.
“The borough is very interested in doing things that involve recreation and involving the property,” Hess said.
Hamilton added that aside from the grant provided by the state Department of Environmental Protection, another $137,000 in private grant money was available from a source he declined to identify.
“Would I be saddened if this whole thing went to hell in a handbasket? Absolutely,” Hamilton said.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 2 longtime Pittsburgh nonprofits agree to merge
- Penguins’ Crosby details his mumps experience
- Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
- West Virginia notebook: Trickett cleared to play in bowl game
- Steelers, young and old, thirst for opportunity to reach the postseason
- West Virginia man dies after being shot with arrow in Wellsburg
- Pederson’s 2nd tenure as Pitt AD comes to abrupt end
- Jury finds Beltzhoover man who shot 60-year-old woman in the eye guilty of attempted homicide
- Chryst returns home, named football coach at Wisconsin
- Judge dismisses littering charge against City Council president Kraus
- QB Smith is chief concern for Steelers’ defense