TELLURIDE TOWN BRIEFS
Nonprofit Recycling Center Now Open to the Public at No Cost
by Gus Jarvis
Jun 07, 2012 | 1888 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
REPAVING - Crews resurfaced Telluride's main street this week, shutting it down for two days to mill the surface. (Photo by Brett Schreckengost)
REPAVING - Crews resurfaced Telluride's main street this week, shutting it down for two days to mill the surface. (Photo by Brett Schreckengost)
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TELLURIDE – Representing the nonprofit San Miguel Area Resource-Recovery Transfer Station, or SMARRTS, Jonathan Greenspan told the Telluride Town Council on Tuesday that the recycling center located in the Ilium Valley Light Industrial Park is now operational and open to the public, free of charge.

“This is the first recycling center ever in this community,” Greenspan said. “This is a big step for this community.”

SMARRTS is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. and accepts traditional recycling items like paper, plastic, aluminum and glass. Greenspan said the recycling center is designed for residents who do not live in areas where recycling pick-up services are available. He added that commercial use of the facility will be permitted on a fee basis.

While most members of council congratulated Greenspan on leading the charge in making the recycling center a reality, there was some question as to how SMARRTS will be financially sustainable. Greenspan said the organization will be embarking on a lot of fundraising efforts and that those who regularly use the facility will be asked to be a part of a membership program.

For now, he said, he wants the public to know its open and ready to accept recycling.

“I am here to make the announcement that this is now open to the public and open to the region,” he said. “This answers our desires and needs.”

Council/Staff Exploring Next Step for Solar Fuels Institute

While there are details that need to be ironed out, the Telluride Town Council informally indicated during a work session on Tuesday that it would be interested in entering into a lease agreement with the Telluride Science Research Center to provide land for the envisioned Solar Fuels Institute.

TSRC Executive Director Nana Naisbitt was before council to gauge whether the town is interested in entering into a public/private partnership for the molecular science research center, which she says could be a major economic driver to the region.

“I would love to have the town enter into a public/private partnership where the town would give us a plot of land for a facility of roughly 30,000 square feet and agree to lease it to us for $1 a year for the next 100 years,” Naisbitt said. “It’s a lot to ask. That will be the jump start for a capital campaign.”

Right now, the TSRC, which uses the Telluride Intermediate School in the summer, brings about 1,000 scientists to Telluride a year over a time period of 10-12 weeks. This generates on average about $3.8 million of revenue to the region. With a facility to call its home, Naisbitt says that revenue be easily quadrupled.

“Our goal is to grow to 4,000 scientists annually and bring 250 to 300 people to Telluride in any given week,” she said. “We are looking to quadruple that money to $14 million annually.”

While members of council said they have been supportive of the idea of the Solar Fuels Institute in previous discussions, there are a lot of details to be worked out before it could bind the town to a lease agreement. Perhaps the biggest detail is where this plot of land would be.

“There is very little land here,” Mayor Stu Fraser said.

After further discussion, council directed staff and two members of council to begin “exploratory” discussions on how to move forward.

For Naisbitt, she is looking to get some sort of commitment from council in order to begin applying for grant funding.

Telluride Ready to Take Part in Community Solar Project

While funding details have not yet been worked out, the Telluride Town Council indicated at a work session on Tuesday that it intends to participate in the community solar facility being built by a partnership of the San Miguel Power Association and the Clean Energy Collective.

Once CEC and SMPA complete the Community Solar facility in the West End of Montrose County near an SMPA substation, SMPA members will have the ability to purchase any desired amount of solar panels at $705 a piece in order to offset their own energy usage.

Sometime by the end of the summer 4,680 solar panels will be available for purchase to SMPA members. The initial rate of payback for those who purchase a solar panel will be 6.4 percent.

The Town of Telluride, as outlined by town staff and somewhat supported by members of Council, could be interested in purchasing approximately $190,000 worth of solar panels when the project goes online. No decisions were made on Tuesday as details on the source of funding for the panels must still be ironed out. For more information on the Community Solar project and how to get involved, visit smpa.com

gjarvis@watchnewspapers.com or @gusgusj

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