In downtown Clayton, each business decides which waste company will haul away its trash.
That garbage freedom has brought a number of waste companies downtown, and as a result, adjacent storefronts often have their own Dumpsters haphazardly placed beside buildings. Town leaders have discussed using one waste company for downtown businesses, as Clayton does for residential collection, but no formal proposal is on the table.
In the meantime, Clayton’s Downtown Development Association has an idea to better organize Dumpsters and shield them from the public eye. The DDA, an advisory committee whose members are appointed by the Clayton Town Council, wants to build Dumpster blinds, which would house receptacles and provide a cleaner look to passersby.
The DDA’s design committee says the paneled blinds could be metal at first, then later adorned with brick or stone corner columns and siding.
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Bruce Naegelen, the town’s downtown development coordinator, said the DDA mapped the current Dumpsters and pointed out several places that were visually unappealing.
In a Feb. 23 memo to Town Planning Director Dave DeYoung, the DDA recommended Dumpster blinds beside the Flipside and Jones Cafe, in an alley along Lombard Street and behind Main Street Jewelers in the 200 block of Main Street.
In addition to being an eyesore, the DDA says the current Dumpster layout creates problems for the businesses themselves. For instance, four Dumpsters are located near the rear entrance to Main Street Jewelers. The DDA suggested moving the Dumpsters to one of the proposed blinds farther away from the building.
The town included $2,500 for the Dumpster blinds in this year’s budget.
James Lipscomb, a Clayton Realtor and a DDA board member, said the blinds are the first step toward better organizing trash collection downtown. However, he said as long as multiple companies are providing the service, it will be confusing.
“They put dumpsters wherever they get permission and don’t worry about how it all works in the greater scheme of things,” Lipscomb said.
Lipscomb, a former town councilman, said one provider would be better.
Town Manager Steve Biggs said Clayton could establish a special district in the downtown area, where the town could offer certain services. One of those services could be solid-waste handling, and the town could hire a company to collect trash for businesses.
The town currently pays Waste Management for residential trash collection.
Biggs said he wouldn’t expect the town to extend the collection service to businesses along U.S. 70 Business, as they are more spread out. In downtown, space is limited, businesses are smaller, and the economy of scale isn’t there, he said.
“The downtown situation is a little different, where it may work if we get involved,” Biggs said.
The town provided solid-waste collection in house until the mid-1990s. It has contracted with private companies ever since.
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