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Transfer of a Waste Transfer Facility Brings New Meaning in Paris

Ceremonial Groundbreaking for Solid Waste Transfer Station and Recycling Center in Bourbon County 04-29-24
Stu Johnson
Ceremonial Groundbreaking for Solid Waste Transfer Station and Recycling Center in Bourbon County 04-29-24

The central Kentucky community of Paris will experience a change in a basic service that carries more meaning than just solid waste collection. It’s being referred to as an “environmental justice” move.

A solid waste transfer station was established in the African American Westside Neighborhood in the mid-1960s. A groundbreaking ceremony for a new site outside town included remarks from the governor, legislators, and local leaders. Governor Beshear said it was a record crowd for such a facility. Jamie Miller is the city manager of Paris.

“We are not only moving it to an area that is more appropriately located for this type of facility, but we are adding services to the community by providing more recycling options as well as ways to keep out community clean and healthy,” said Miller.

 Vanessa Logan, born and raised in the Bourbon County town, said she spent lots of time in Westside visiting relatives. She called the groundbreaking event a moment that rights a wrong.

“You know their quality of life was just not what it should have been with all that’s going on over there and probably had something to do with their health issues too. But, who knows whether that would be part of it…but the quality of life wasn’t there for sure. Cause you had the smell all day long,” said Logan.

That smell was the burning of trash. Logan said prior to the waste transfer facility, the property featured a park where baseball games were common. The plan is to return this land to a park someday. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Jeaneane Gettle said federal grant money can help.

“We’ve already started a preliminary assessment which will let you access brownfield dollars from the federal government through the Commonwealth. Bring resources to the community to redevelop that former site to what I understand will be a new greenspace,” said Gettle.

City Manager Miller said the building of the new waste transfer-recycling facility is expected to take about a year. Soil testing is underway at the still-operating current transfer site. Miller noted a move back to greenspace will be a longer proposition.

The State provided two million dollars for the project from the Community Development Block Program. Then the General Assembly approved another $1.5 million to cover escalating supply costs and inflation impacts.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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