A couple weeks ago I arrived home from work and discovered an unfamiliar scene as I drove down my street. There were yellow & blue bins in every property’s front yard, including my own. There was a packet of information included with the bin explaining that my neighborhood had been selected for a 3 month curbside recycling pilot program; which is being offered by Republic. At the end of the 3 month period, a one time charge of $48 for the next year will be billed if we choose to continue.
To be completely honest, I was excited to see the bin in my front yard. Republic will pick it up every other week on the same day as my garbage pick up. The bin is huge and my only worry is that we will fill it too fast. We already take a disproportionate amount of recycling (compared to garbage) to a neighborhood bin on a weekly basis. The good news is that we do not have to sort it and everything we currently recycle is directly compatible. After a couple cycles of using it, I have noted that our 96 gallon recycling bin is almost always full every other week, while our 30 gallon garbage container is less than halfway full every week.
The arrival of the bin really got me thinking about where the City of Indianapolis is with the rumored city-wide curbside recycling program. In 2009, an RFQ was issued by the city to area recycling vendors to gauge whether or not a “free” curbside service could be offered. According to the City website, there IS a curbside program currently in place where they issue a 96 gallon bin. This seems to be the same program that my neighborhood is a pilot participant in. I turned to Molly Deuberry at the DPW to see where the city’s prior RFQ efforts lead. According to her,
“The City is required by contract with our current solid waste haulers to first negotiate with them prior to soliciting outside bids related to curbside recycling. Those are the negotiations that we have been having. To date, we haven’t been able to reach an acceptable conclusion, but we haven’t given up yet. And let me say, we haven’t had a lot of pressure or push for mandatory recycling.”
“When the Ballard Administration came to office in January 2008, there were roughly 8,000 households participating in curbside recycling. Through outreach, increasing awareness, and partnerships, we have increased that number 2 ½ times to just over 21,000 households. That means an increase from 3% of the population to 8% of the population. The Mayor has been very clear that 8% is not enough—we need to keep looking for ways to increase curbside recycling. Thus the idea of the recycling pilot was born.”
To me, that says that our politicians are trying, but only a small number of us our voicing our support of such a system. Even looking at other cities, recycling is seldom “free” and is included in waste fees. It would be a stretch to see a new wide spread and intensive program be put into service totally free. I think the bigger problem is again, convincing people that it is worth paying for the service. It is a quality of life issue that people must be willing to pay for. Personally, the pilot program put us over the hump. The trouble of taking pieces to area bins is worth paying $6 a month to have it picked up. However, I have to say that we never actually subscribed. The pilot program has helped us along with that.
This past Sunday, my wife and I had the last minute pleasure of attending the first pre-season Colts game. It was a hot August Indianapolis weekend. We witnessed a great performance by the first team, and then a mediocre performance by the Colts “B” team.
When we decided to make our way out of Lucas Oil Stadium, we left by way of the north gate which lies on South Street and gives you a grand view of downtown Indianapolis’ skyline.
If we back up for a second and take a look at what is going on in this area of downtown, we should go back a few years when planners decided to build a new stadium. This also included the renovation and expansion of the Convention Center; a place that could be considered one of Indianapolis financial main arteries. The renovation included moving into some of the space made clear by the demolition of the RCA dome.
If you happen to witness the current on going construction from Maryland, Capital or Georgia Street, the design represents a modern looking and attractive structure. One could see it from these sides and proclaim that even while it is a low profile structure for a CBD, it will get the job done in a somewhat attractive manner.
Then you look at what is going on from South Street, and by extension, the North Gate of Lucas Oil Stadium and it looks like Ford or General Motors moved in and constructed a parts manufacturing plant. There is nothing but an entire block of two stories of aluminum siding. My wife made this comment, and I couldn’t agree more.
Digging into this, I found that Ratio Architects covered the design as well as a couple of other local architecture firms Blackburn Architects and Domain Architects. I attempted to research on each of the architect’s websites what they may have been involved with, but Blackburn’s website cited that they were involved in some of the interior design and Domain’s website was so difficult to navigate, I closed the browser after 5 frustrating minutes.
How could this have happened? In looking at how comparatively good the rest of the expansion is looking, how was one of the most visible facades of the convention center allowed to turn out this way? Was this part assigned to the design “B” team like the remaining 3 quarters of the football game I witnessed this weekend? I have spent about an hour’s worth of time trying to dig into the available information on the web to see if there is anything covering the exterior, but there does not seem to be that level of detail readily available.
I hope that eventually I am proven wrong and that something will be here to replace what looks like the side of an automobile parts manufacturing plant. Is this the face that we want to show to the people who will be attending the Super Bowl here in 2012? Granted, there is plenty of good looking skyline, but a two block long corrugated aluminum wall is going to detract from that.
Some other ideas for sprucing this up could involve some sort of Indianapolis themed mural. Maybe some sort of foliage along the CSX viaduct that travels adjacent and in the foreground would help to distract from the plain appearance. At this point, I am spitballing. As always, comment is welcome and if someone in the know has something to add to this, please comment on it so that the rest of us will know.
Editor’s Note: This post is referenced in an IBJ Property Lines Blog post located here