Allegan Township seeks DEQ grant to fence off recycling bins

By: 
Ryan Lewis, Editor

As abuse of Allegan Township’s recycling bins continues to rack up extra costs, officials there hope a newly increased grant fund will help fund improvements.

Board members discussed Monday, March 4, applying for a grant through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

“It looks like we’d now qualify for it,” said township treasurer Jane Waanders.

The DEQ announced at the end of last month it would be increasing the total pot of money for Recycling Infrastructure Grants to $3.7 million—up from $500,000—and they are extending the deadline for grant applications to May 1.

Announced in November, the grants are designed to increase the recycling rate and recycling access. According to MDEQ, they are part of this year’s Sustainability Grants, and the increased funding has been made available by the recently established Renew Michigan Fund, designed to fund environmental cleanup and projects like these.

Municipalities, nonprofits and others are eligible to apply for as much as $1 million.

Waanders said the township hopes to apply for money to enlarge the concrete pad for the recycling dumpsters at the side of the township hall, fencing, and additional lighting and security cameras.

Currently, the township monitors the unsecured area with some video cameras. Residents can use the bins at any hour; unfortunately, some individuals continue to fill the bins with trash. When emptied, the waste hauler weighs the refuse and sends a bill to the township for its disposal, which draws from the township’s increasingly dwindling recycling funds.

Waanders said, “We’re basically their trash service.”

She said the township intends to make the area bigger, secure it with a fence and staff it for regular hours of operation.

Township officials have sought help applying for the grant from economic development firm Lakeshore Advantage. The township earlier this year agreed to a $1,875 contract for economic development services.

Township supervisor Steve Schulz said, “This is a prime example of why we did that.”

Waanders said as yet there was no estimate for the cost of the project, though it would require 25 percent matching money.

Contact Ryan Lewis at rmlewis@allegannews.com or (269) 673-5534.

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