Steamboat Springs Starting this summer, city residents can expect to see recycling bins near the corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue attached to newly-designed plastic newspaper boxes.
The Steamboat Springs City Council unanimously approved a plan Tuesday night to place the boxes on the street in a pilot program engineered by Yampa Valley Recycles. The council approved city funding for the project and gave its support to the idea.
Council members, supported by a large segment of the business community, felt the project could help clean up the look of downtown and provide opportunities for recycling at the same time.
On the sides of the structure would be recycling containers, one of which would hold newspapers and the other of which could hold glass, plastic and aluminum, said Barbara Hughes, the chairwoman of the recycling group.
The pilot structure is designed to hold only four papers, though future structures would hold not only all of the newspapers but also real estate brochures and other such papers.
Yampa Valley Recycles patterned the design of the boxes on similar structures in Vail and other mountain towns.
"Those look really good in Vail," said Councilman Loui Antonucci.
TCD has pledged to build the recycling structures free of charge and the city agreed to pay for the materials, which will cost about $2,200.
The project would also cost the city $3,432 to $5,720 annually in staff time to unload the recyclables and maintain the structure.
The newspaper companies themselves would have to pay for the boxes they would put in the larger structures at a cost of about $300 to $500 each.
If the pilot program works in a cost-effective manner, the city may be willing to expand the program throughout town and even to the mountain.
"We're hoping everyone will love the idea and maybe want one on their corner," said Ruth Dombrowski, a member of Yampa Valley Recycles.
As the program expands, the recycling group hopes businesses will be willing to sponsor the construction of more recycling units.
Council President Kathy Connell said she thinks the recycling/newspaper boxes could be nice in front on condominium complexes on the mountain.
Councilman Bud Romberg expressed concern about the costs the structures will mean for the city given the city's current budget constraints.
"I don't have a problem with the project, but I may have a problem funding it right now," he said.
Romberg almost voted "no" on the issue, but was convinced eventually that the pilot should go ahead and the city will reevaluate the project.
"It's worth doing the pilot and seeing what happens," said Council President Pro Tem Paul Strong. "This cost, as far as
our budget goes, is fairly minimal."