By HEATHER POHLABEL
Daily Globe Staff Reporter
SHELBY - At Monday night's meeting of the City of Shelby's Park Board, resident and business owner Denny Kurtzman addressed the board during public comment to ask for their help and direction in implementing a city-wide recycling program that would benefit the city and its small interest groups in many ways."I cannot believe our city doesn't do recycling," Kurtzman started out. He explained that for quite some time he has tried working with local city facilitators to work with Richland County Solid Waste Management to start a recycling program in Shelby. Over the years, Kurtzman said, he had received verbal support from many city administrators, but nothing ever came to fruition. Kurtzman is looking once again to get a city-wide recycling program started. "I approached (Christina) Thompson (economic and development coordinator for Shelby) and I still haven't heard back from her. I guess she's out looking at other communities and seeing how they do it," Kurtzman said. He then provided an example of how his church uses recycling to fully fund summer camp for all the children in the parish who choose to attend. "The church I go to has maybe 70 people," he said. "About 20 families support our recycling, and we probably make $4,000 to $5,000 a year just in that community. If we can just get 10 percent of the community in Shelby, there's no reason the city can't make $30,000 to $40,000 a year just in recycling," Kurtzman estimated. Kurtzman volunteered to spearhead the effort, stating his ideal program would entail having a green team member from every business in town who would be responsible for collecting recyclables. He suggested using a central site such as a vacant building on Mohican Street as a collection site where citizens could drop off their recyclable materials weekly. He further suggested small interest groups or school sports teams could volunteer to man the site and transport the recyclables weekly for a cut of the profit. Kurtzman also noted he and Nichole Witchey, president of the Shelby Green Committee, have been looking into grants for recycling receptacles. "Right now Shelby wants to identify themselves - they are going to have green space galore. We may have green energy out here in the next few years...we could be a green community," he said. "Major communities around here are doing recycling. I can't believe we don't. It's going to take some time. It might take a year, year and a half to get everybody in on it," Kurtzman continued, pointing out there are already many people in the community in favor of recycling.
Park Board President Dave Keinath responded, "I think it's a good idea, and I recycle, but I think it would be far more effective if the city got it instead of us. To be honest, it would be difficult for us. We have a limited staff and no real means to secure a building and I think that's a key to this. I hate to say no.
"I really think the city needs to be as involved as we are, I think the park employees would be glad to recycle our stuff through a place that the city set up, but I just don't' know where we'd put it," Keinath continued.Park Board Secretary and City Finance Director Bob Lafferty advised, "That's largely Christina (Thompson)'s job. It's just not in the realm of what the city does, and I can't speak for the city; I can only say if it's going to be organized, it has to be done basically through her community and economic development program." Board member Richard Hostetler noted that "one thing that hasn't been brought up was how the consumables could pay for city functions such as Bicycle Days." Kurtzman added to Hostetler's thought. "We could have the finest concerts at the amphitheater and we don't have to hustle for money, and (Bicycle Days coordinators) wouldn't have to go door to door begging for money...for stuff like this. Other cities do it. If they do it, why can't we? I thought we could put on the nicest concerts, the nicest festivals, and have it all paid for by trash." Keinath suggested taking the matter to Thompson and letting it come back through the Park Board "that way maybe we can donate something to it - maybe it's not the space, maybe it's the manpower - maybe that's the direction we go. I think it's a good idea. Everyone sitting here is already recycling." Everyone in attendance agreed it would be a benefit for the community and it should be used to help local organizations and school sports teams earn money. Kurtzman said he would approach Thompson again as well as several vacant building owners in town to start the process.