Grant upgrades park playgrounds
Additional grants will fund solid waste handling
JUST ADD KIDS! The playgrounds at Logan-Hubble Park recently got an upgrade when the Garrard-Lincoln Solid Waste Management District provided crumb rubber mulch around all of the parks playground equipment. The total cost of the project was $18,300 and consumed 5,100 discarded tires.
Thomason said that last Friday his organization completed a project to replace all of the mulch around the park’s playground equipment with crumb rubber mulch. “It’s an excellent use of 5,100 discarded tires,” Thomason said. “They go through a process where the wires and chemicals are removed from the tire carcasses and the remaining rubber is crumbled into mulch. The mulch is low maintenance, lasts for seven years and when you walk on it, it feels like you’re walking on a bed of feathers,” he said.
The project, which cost $18,300, was funded through a grant from the Kentucky Division of Waste Management. Obtaining these grants has become one of the young solid waste manager’s strengths since taking over the combined Lincoln-Garrard effort over a year ago. Recently, the district received two other grants that will have both immediate and long-term benefits for the community.
The first grant, $18,000 worth of funding for a first-ever Household Hazardous Waste Day, has Thomason very excited. “It’s really nice to get this grant; we’ve been applying for several years,” he said. Despite keen competition, there were $2 million worth of applications for $400,000 worth of grant, Thomason won the grant which will be used to have a day in both Lincoln and Garrard counties where residents can turn in household waste that typically is not accepted by the recycling center or the landfill.
“We’re hiring a contractor who will take things like prescription pills, thermometers and CFL lightbulbs-both of which contain mercury-and most household chemicals. None of this will be going in our landfill,” Thomason said.
Thomason said that he expects the last grant the district received to really increase his operations efficiency. Recently, the recycling center was awarded a $45,000 grant that will go towards the purchase of material handling equipment. “We are purchasing a new forklift and a cart tipper for our sorting conveyor,” he said. The center will also purchase two hydraulic dump trailers for transporting scrap metal that will replace a rented dumpster. Thomason also hopes to put a dent in the center’s on-site storage problems by buying two additional storage containers to hold recyleables like cans and bottles before they are baled for sale. “People are turning in such a huge volume of recyclables that our storage containers are filling up before we can bale,” he said.
In addition to equipment for the recycling center, the grant will be used to buy more recycling bins for the school district, which has a very robust recycling program, and to run a public awareness campaign so county residents will know how to take advantage of the many programs the Solid Waste Management District offers.
Thomason was quick to give credit to the fiscal courts and judge executives from both Lincoln and Garrard counties, attributing a lot of his outfit’s success to their support. “I’m given the freedom to implement really innovative things and the two county governments are so supportive,” he said. But a lot of the credit has to go to 28-year old manager as well, and his peers have recognized his hard work. Last week, Thomason was inducted as the president of Kentucky Solid Waste Coordinators Association and will be spending some of his time working on legislation that will benefit both the environment and the taxpayers.