By MARY grzebieniak
Springfield Township may lose its longtime recycling center behind the township administration building because of low use.
Jim Petuch, director of the Mahoning County Green Team, attended the township trustees’ meeting earlier this week and said the township is collecting far fewer recyclables in the bins than at the nearby New Middletown site at the water tower at 10720 Struthers Road.
He said New Middletown collects 142 percent more recyclables. The recycling program, which is administered by the township, has been going on for 20 years.
Petuch asked the supervisors to think about options that include moving the site to another location, closing the site and concentrating efforts at the New Middletown site, or giving the site another six months to try to promote and increase usage.
If the township chooses to establish another site on public land, the Green Team would provide up to $5,000 in site improvements if necessary, he said.
In any case, Petuch said the township will keep the $12,000 annual Green Team funding slated for next year’s operations of the recycling program, which employs one person to monitor the program. That sum is up $1,000 from this year’s allotment.
Trustee Robert Orr said he favors establishing a site in heavily traveled New Springfield.
Trustee Gerald Guterba commented that current turnpike construction and heavy truck traffic likely have discouraged recyclers from coming to the township site. He asked if the township site could be closed temporarily, and Petuch said it could. No decisions were made.
In other matters, Orr said he has contacted Youngstown State University about the possibility of students’ conducting a study to determine long-term strategies for the township ambulance service.
Orr commented that the township’s average age is rising with the addition of four new nursing homes and possibly a fifth. He said other factors affecting the emergency medical service are increased speed limits on the turnpike and health concerns about Marcellus Shale drilling. He said that planning is needed to ensure the township EMS attracts enough new recruits to maintain staffing.
Fire Chief Matt Gebhardt announced the township fire department was one of only four in the state to win the Ohio Fire Corps Award of Excellence.
The award, which is connected to U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was based on the “commitment and dedication of the supportive service program,” which includes the three fire-station associations and the EMS auxiliary, which do extensive fundraising and other work to support emergency services.