The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 5, 2013

Conneaut mulls ex-Sidley land for new compost site

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — If the price proves right, the city of Conneaut could be moving its municipal compost site from one side of town to the other.

The city is interested in acquiring the long-closed Sidley Inc., property on the south side of West Main Road (Route 20) at the North Kingsville line, said City Manager Tim Eggleston. The 42-acre parcel could be the new home of the city’s compost site, now located off East Main Road (Route 20) a short distance from the Pennsylvania border.

The landowner has made an offer and the city is in the process of getting the parcel appraised, Eggleston said.

A final decision rests with City Council, he said. Right now, the city is merely exploring the option, Eggleston said.

“It’s not a for-sure thing,” he said. “We’ve just ordered up an appraisal. We want to make sure we’re looking at a fair deal.”

City administrators are anxious to find a replacement for the compost site that has been a pubic depository for leaves, limbs and other organic waste for many years. The site is rapidly hitting capacity, officials said. In a recent report, Public Works Director Robert Mannion said the site is “running out of room.” Also, the city is unsure whether Ashtabula County will finance the grinding of piles as it has in the past, Mannion said in the report.

The compost site also also be dampening interest in the East Conneaut Industrial Park, Eggleston said. The compost site may be working against the city’s efforts to find buyers of land within the park, Eggleston said.

“We can’t sell a lot in the industrial park with the compost site there,” he said.

The Sidley land could have other uses, Eggleston said. The city could use the land for mitigation purposes when wetlands are discovered on property desired by a developer, he said. Land on the Sidley parcel could be preserved to make up for the wetlands given over to a business need.

“There’s a lot of different ways this land could help us,” Eggleston said.