Venango County gets recycling center grant

Venango County has received a $345,502 state grant that ensures a county-wide recycling center will be developed and equipped.

On Friday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that $37 million in recycling development implementation grants had been awarded by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

In that listing was the grant approved for Venango County.

While no definitive timeline has been established for setting up the new center, the grant stipulations require that it be built within a year.

While the subject has been explained at length at numerous municipal meetings, including those involved with the county and Cranberry Township, the proposed location for the center was on hold until a decision had been made about funding.

The project was launched last year by the Venango County commissioners and was dependent on the state grant. Earlier, the county had received a small grant to develop a study to determine the feasibility of the recycling center. The center is projected to be cost-neutral to county taxpayers.

The location identified as the leading site for a center is the back portion of a Cranberry School District maintenance building off Route 257.

Last month, the Cranberry Township supervisors approved an ordinance that permits the location of a recycling center in the township.

At a meeting with the supervisors, county recycling coordinator Erik Johnson said the goal was “to develop a centralized convenience center for county residents.”

The township location was chosen over others for specific reasons, said Johnson.

“We chose Cranberry because it is pretty much the commercial mecca … with the big box stores,” Johnson told the supervisors. “There is a reason for people to come here. And, I hope this (center) would cause more people to come here.. … We identified Cranberry because of its commercial capacity and potential for growth.”

The Cranberry School District building was identified as the recycling center site because it has access to Route 257 and offers loading docks. The county would lease the back portion of the school district’s maintenance building.

Johnson said the recycling center would be fenced, feature security cameras and lights, and be staffed. It would be open to all county residents and would offer typical recycling for glass, plastic and paper as well as specialized collections, including tires, electronics and hazardous household products.

A new county recycling center will not affect curbside recycling programs in Oil City and Franklin. Those systems are required by law in larger municipalities.

The state grants were awarded to 195 county and municipal governments for recycling collections and leaf pickup.

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said the grants are designed to help “bolster recycling in communities all over Pennsylvania and reduce the amount of material going into our landfills.”