As a former Solid Waste Division Chief in Alexandria Virginia, I speak from first-hand experience when I say that you don’t mess with people’s trash service. We ran a fleet of 10 trucks and collected 1,000 tons a day, but God forbid, if we were 5 minutes later than normal on one of the routes, the phone lines would start lighting up. That was when I realized how important trash service is in people’s lives. So I guess that’s why I thought I should be sure to let you know that we’re looking to change trash cans downtown. Thanks to Main Street, we’re going to be able to upgrade the look and quality of the trash cans we use downtown this summer.
Downtown Trash Can Replacement
The Main Street Kent organization has been working with Gene Roberts, Public Service Director, to investigate options to replace the current home-made wooden trash cans that have been in use downtown for about 30 years.
In the course of those 30 years these cans have been damaged, burned, broken and repaired many times. At this point, the cans have exceeded their service life and have become a high maintenance item that many of the merchants complain look bad and reflect poorly on both the city and their business.
Without a capital budget to replace the 17 wooden cans, Gene has been working with a small committee of downtown merchants and Main Street representatives to see what could be done collaboratively. Everyone on the committee agreed that the old cans served a good purpose but it was time to modernize the look and function of the cans. After reviewing the various types of cans available today, the group agreed upon the same trash can that is currently used on Kent State campus.
The Victor Stanley trash can is an attractive fluted-steel can that is one of the most commonly used cans in downtowns all across the country (including downtown Ravenna).
The Main Street organization surveyed the locations of the current cans and talked to the area merchants to see if they felt more cans were needed and where those should be placed. Based on that information, Main Street presented Gene and I with a proposal to purchase a total of 55 new Victor Stanley cans.
The cost for the cans will run close to $50,000, of which the city will pay 1/3 ($15,000) and Main Street will pick up the costs for the rest. Main Street is hoping to solicit business sponsors to buy-back the cost of as many cans as possible, but they are fronting all of the cash for the new cans.
At nearly $1,000 a piece, this collaboration enables the city to get 55 new cans at the price of 15 cans. We consider this a great deal for the city and I agreed to contribute the city share upon delivery of the new cans.
At this point, Main Street has put the order in and the company expects to ship the cans in late July. Later this summer, Main Street will also be purchasing (at their cost) cigarette disposal containers for downtown as well.
This is the kind of leveraging of resources that we were hoping participation in Main Street would make possible.