VALPARAISO | Parks are all about being green, and the city's Park Board is looking at being even greener by spring and saving some green along the way.
Parks Director John Seibert outlined a proposal at Wednesday's board meeting to extend recycling to all the city parks. The only sites with recycling containers are Central Park Plaza and at the parks departments offices at Foundation Meadows Park.
The department has about 200 55-gallon barrels in its parks for collecting trash. Two employees collect the trash. The department wants to replace the barrels with 96-gallon plastic totes like those used for city trash collection.
In addition, it wants to add a 96-gallon recycling container next to each regular trash bin. The new bins would be collected using a pickup truck equipped with a hydraulic lift.
The cost of the pickup truck, the lift equipment with the bins on the truck and for 624 96-gallon totes would be about $83,000. Recreation Superintendent Dan McGuire said the pickup is needed because most of the totes would be where the regular city trucks wouldn't be able to drive.
The barrels all filled on the weekends although they are not as full during the week. Adding the recycling totes will reduce the parks' $14,000 cost for landfill tipping fees.
Therese Davis, executive director of the county's Recycling and Waste Reduction District, told the board the district can offer support with everything but money. However, she can help research grant money to pay for starting the program.
Seibert said he will be looking for resources to pay for the program between now and the spring, when he hopes to begin it.
"Lots of wins can happen," he said. "It's finding the resources to make it happen. We hope to use it as an example for other park systems to follow."