Leadership Steamboat takes on downtown recycling

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— This year’s Leadership Steamboat class wanted to leave its mark on the community.

So students in the class that seeks to create business and community leaders decided to work toward a permanent solution for downtown recycling.

Recycling bins have been in place along Lincoln Avenue during the summer since 2010. Those were donated by Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., but local groups have been looking for a year-round solution to reducing trash downtown.

Leadership Steamboat member Garrett Smith, who is leading the class’ effort, said the group will solicit donations for 22 metal recycling bins at a cost of $1,500 each.

“We just felt that was a project that we could feasibly do, as well as offer a permanent community service,” Smith said. “It would be a lasting thing, a concrete thing that you could see from day to day. Particularly with recycling, we saw that there needed to be more downtown.”

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said several local groups including the city, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and Yampa Valley Recycles had been looking into a year-round recycling solution but didn’t have the resources to pull it off. Barnett added that it needed to be done soon because the bins donated by Ski Corp. are starting to deteriorate.

“I think everybody wants recycling to happen and wants it to be as easy as possible so we don’t put stuff in the landfill that doesn’t belong there,” she said.

Barnett said Leadership Steamboat had worked with Mainstreet and the city to select a recycle bin that complied with streetscape design guidelines identified in a 2007 study commissioned by the city. She said it’s part of a program in which people can sponsor benches, bike racks or other things downtown.

Smith, assistant supervisor of base area services for Ski Corp., said the Leadership Steamboat class offered by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus requires that they finish the project before their graduation in June.

Leadership Steamboat chose the recycle bins as its project in December, Smith said. He said the class had to get support from Mainstreet and the city. The city will pick up the cost of removing the recyclables as part of its budget line item for downtown trash removal.

Smith said they will start soliciting donations in the next week or two from individuals and businesses. Donors’ names could be placed on the metal recycle bins.

“We haven’t announced this, and we haven’t actually gone out and asked anybody yet, but so far us bringing it up in certain circles, we have had positive feedback and people have already jumped on board,” he said.

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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