Grant Money is Key for Venango County Recycling Center

| April 17, 2018

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – Could a recycling center be coming to Venango County?

It’s a possibility after the Venango County Commissioners at their monthly meeting last week approved a request from the Venango County Planning Commission to apply for a $350,000.00 grant that would cover the start-up costs of a center, which would most likely be located in Cranberry Township/Seneca area.

“The idea would be to create a recycling center to serve all county residents,” Venango County Planning Commision Executive Director Jason Ruggiero said. “It would be similar to the bins at the Two Mile County Park and some other municipalities. County residents could drop off plastic, glass bottles, cans, all the stuff you think about when recycling. They would also be able to drop off the things we have had special collections at the mall for like electronics, refrigerators, dehumidifiers, household hazardous wastes like paints and chemicals, those types of things. They wouldn’t just be confined to the once a quarter or once every other month drop off like they are now.”

According to Ruggiero, the county did a study a few years ago that showed the groundwork that would be needed to put a center like this into action, and that is what has led to the current grant application.

“We wrote a grant to the DEP to fund a feasibility study for it, which is just getting underway now,’ Ruggiero said. “We need to find a home for the center and work out all the financial aspects. That is where this ($350,000) grant comes into play. It would take care of the start-up costs. Things like the bailer and skid steer along with improvements to a site like a loading dock and access road improvements.”

Ruggiero said the county is currently exploring the idea of renting space from Cranberry Area School District for the center’s location, but any lease wouldn’t be finalized until the grant comes through, which isn’t a guarantee.

“We would wait to see if we get the grant,” Ruggiero said. “But the way the grant is written, the county match would be paying for the lease of the space.”

Ruggiero didn’t want to speculate as to when the grant might come through, if the county would get it, and because the center relies on the county getting the grant he didn’t have any real timetable as to when the center might become a reality.

“That’s a tough question without knowing how fast we can get the money,” Ruggiero said. “The money is the key to everything. If we had the funding right now to buy the equipment and do the capital upgrades, we could be functioning within a year. But finding the funding is the key. That is where the grant comes in.”

Ruggiero believes a recycling center is important for two reasons.

“One, we have seen the need for these types of services through our special collections at the mall,” Ruggiero said. “When I started, we have (special collections) once a year. Last year, I think we did one every other month. We can show the numbers that our residents are using those services and show a need in the county for them.”

Ruggiero also believes having a recycling center is important from a community development standpoint.

“When people consider coming to the area, moving to the area, these are the kinds of amenities they are looking for,” Ruggiero said. “Being able to recycle and dispose of electronics, these are things people from bigger areas are used to. When we don’t have them, we are not as competitive as a community.”


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