Mayor Tim Keller on Thursday gave an early Christmas present to several North Valley neighborhoods; he killed a proposed garbage transfer station and convenience center that they had been fighting for four years.
In killing the proposed transfer station at the Solid Waste Department's 23-acre headquarters at Griegos and Edith Northeast, Keller said the project was an example of how things shouldn't be done in the city. It was a top-down deal proposed by city bureaucrats with little or no initial input from area residents.
(Photo: Mayor Tim Keller said his administration won't do top-down projects; he'll consult with city residents first.)
Keller said that in the future, his administration will work “to actually produce decisions that are in step with the neighborhoods.”
To the cheers of at least 40 area residents, Keller added, “The full transfer station and convenience center … that is not going to happen any more. I want to make sure that we listen to communities on the front-end of projects. We will make sure we listen to our communities first.”
Keller did say that he has directed city officials to look for other potential sites for a transfer station, but added that finding a new site won't be easy because decisions on where to place garbage facilities “are notoriously difficult issues for cities.”
The transfer station was proposed and pushed by former mayor Richard Berry, who said it would save the city money on wear and tear on vehicles and on gas. The idea was to have the city's garbage trucks that operate on the east side of town dump their loads at the transfer station rather than driving all the way to the Cerro Colorado landfill on the far Westside. The garbage at the transfer facility would be loaded onto larger trucks and driven to the landfill.
But area neighborhood groups and businesses fought the project saying it would lead to more traffic congestion and that it would cause economic harm to the area.
Keller said the city had spent $4 million in planning the project. But, even though the transfer station for the area is now dead, it doesn't mean the money was wasted. Data gathered as part of the effort will be used to find another location for the transfer station, Keller added.
Area residents who attended Keller's news conference announcing the end of the project were thrilled.
“I'm happy with it. I wonder if they will consider moving the whole operation [meaning, the Solid Waste headquarters] out [to the outskirts of the city],” said area resident Dan Mayfield Sr.
David Wood, who helped lead the fight against the project, thanked Keller and called his announcement an “early Christmas present” for the area's neighborhoods and businesses.