It would be one thing if the contents of those Dumpsters consisted primarily of office trash and discarded packaging from retailers. But with downtown home to around two dozen eateries, most of what’s in the Dumpsters smells to high heaven, especially this time of year. The contents also are an attraction to flies, rats and other vermin.
It might not be so bad if the Dumpsters were tucked away in back alleys. But unfortunately, far too many of them are along the sidewalks or even allowed to be parked in the street.
But there could be some changes on the horizon.
Councilman Johnny Walker has suggested a new setup modeled on one in Italy and brought to his attention by a constituent. The system uses Dumpster-sized subterranean chambers in which to store refuse until it can be removed. Walker has now sent pictures of the system to Mayor Steve Tumlin and his fellow council members.
“I like the idea, and I thought I would have the city do a little research on it,” Walker said. “It makes sense to me, and it would help do away with the unsightly dumpsters. It would really clean up the city.”
However, because he missed the deadline for adding the item to this month’s agenda, it now will be on next month’s.
Tumlin tried during his first year in office back in 2010 to get the Dumpsters out of sight, but the effort ran aground for lack of funding, he said.
The mayor favors installing parking meters around the Square, and says the revenue could be used for the Dumpster project. Many downtown businesspeople favor meters because it would help control parking on the Square. Too many of those headed to the courthouse complex choose to park in the free spaces on the Square, rather than pay a nominal fee to park in the county’s nearby deck, they say. The result is that shoppers, diners and others find it a challenge to find parking.
“It would have a prettier Square and even control the traffic a little better down there,” Tumlin said.
Parking meters on the Square is a discussion for another time, perhaps later in the process. For now, the focus should be on moving the Dumpsters themselves.