Alpena County allocates $500,000 toward new recycling center

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Joe Rings deposits some cardboard into a recycling bin in Alpena on Monday. Alpena County is allocating $500,000 toward a new recycling center that could be built before the end of 2024.

ALPENA — The Alpena County Board of Commissioners is using $500,000 from the $5.5 million it received from the American Rescue Plan Act stimulus money from the federal government as an investment into having a new recycling center built.

The money comes with the condition that a recycling authority is created. The authority would own, run, and maintain the new recycling center, which will be built at the corner of M-32 and Airport Road.

The county owns a large swath of property around where the proposed facility is to be built and will lease the recycling program the land.

The proposed project has a price tag of $5.8 million and is expected to be completed in 2024.

The Alpena Resource Recycling Board requested $2 million — $1 million to cover the match for a $1 million grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy – and another million to have needed utility infrastructure installed.

Both the recycling board, and the county will seek more grant money to help cover the balance of the project. Recycling board member Cindy Johnson said if the full amount for the project isn’t paid for with grant money, the recycling board will borrow the balance.

Johnson said the recycling program is appreciative of the county’s support and is thankful for the money the commissioners did commit to the project. She said she is confident the county can find additional grant funds to help pay for the needed infrastructure and that the recycling board will seek funding toward construction costs.

The current recycling center is located on M-32, but with the increasing popularity of recycling locally, it doesn’t have the capacity to efficiently handle the sorting and storage process.

Johnson said an authority wouldn’t look much different than what the current board does now. She said currently, there are a pair of representatives from Alpena and Alpena Township on the board and one representative each of Alpena County’s seven of the townships.

The county would have a seat at the table in the new authority.

Johnson said the plan is to have as much money in the bank as possible to begin construction in 2023 and open the facility in 2024.

“We need to get all of our finances in order and then we will move onto the next phase, which would be putting the project out for bid and breaking ground,” she said. “It should be done by the end of 2024.”


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