After a resident told him about Dumpsters in Italy that look like regular trash bins above ground but empty into larger Dumpster-sized receptacles below the surface, Walker sent photos to Mayor Steve Tumlin and the City Council.
“I like the idea, and I thought I would have the city do a little research on it,” Walker said.
Walker, whose family owned Johnny Walker’s men’s clothing store on the Square for more than 60 years, said he has long heard complaints from visitors to the Square about the leaking, smelly dumpsters.
“It makes sense to me, and it would help do away with the unsightly dumpsters,” Walker said. “It would really clean up the city.”
The City Council won’t begin discussion at its meetings on how to solve the dumpster problem in the Square until next month, Walker said, because he submitted the suggestion after the deadline for this month’s meetings.
Mayor Steve Tumlin said he supports the idea and was glad another member of the council had brought it to the table.
Tumlin suggested alternative solutions to the dumpsters during his first year in office in 2010, he said, and it spiraled into heated discussions about where the money would come from.
“I pushed it and then backed off because of money,” Tumlin said.
But now, Tumlin said he thinks council members could agree on a way to fund the new dumpsters.
Tumlin said he wants to install parking meters on the Square — a move the Downtown Marietta Development Authority has been talking about for years — to collect the capital the city would need for the project.
Dave Reardon, the owner of Shillings on the Square and a member of the DMDA, said he agrees paid parking places are needed to control traffic on the Square. He also would like to see the dumpster behind his building go.
“I’ve never seen dumpsters in the ground, but that sounds wonderful,” Reardon said. “You’ve got to put them somewhere.”
Reardon said the No. 1 complaint he hears from customers is the lack of parking on the Square. He said people going to the courthouse in the morning use up all of the free parking places on the Square instead of the parking decks built for those visitors, which cost $5.
Reardon and Tumlin, who is also a member of the DMDA, agree the parking meters should be used to discourage people going to court from parking in the Square.
“When the need is high, the fee is high,” Reardon said.
Tumlin said his idea is to charge for the spaces on the Square from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., but leave the spaces free after that.
Without more discussion, Tumlin said he didn’t know how much the meters would charge.
“It would have a prettier Square and even control the traffic a little better down there,” Tumlin said.
The city has had problems with residents complaining about dumpsters before. Members of the Marietta First Baptist Church complained when the city moved a dumpster into its parking lot, but a few years later, the situation was resolved when the city removed it.