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Expansion project at Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Management put on hold

Project will be go out for bids again next January or February.

POPE DOUGLAS MASTER PLAN_ATCC with Labels_2020.jpg
This drawing from Widseth shows highlights of a major expansion project at Pope-Douglas Solid Waste Management.
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ALEXANDRIA — An expansion project at the Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Management has been put on hold, according to Nathan Reinbold, the facilities environmental coordinator.

He said the project is expected to be put out to bid again next January or February. There may be some site work done yet this fall, but the rest of the work has been paused.

“Costs were way over what was budgeted for,” Reinbold said.

The expansion includes a new Environmental Center/Operations Building.

The fully drive-through Environmental Center would be able to accept single sort recycling, cardboard recycling, electronics/appliance recycling, motor oil/filter/vegetable oil recycling, bulky materials, scrap metal, household hazardous waste and more in a climate controlled setting using excess heat/energy generated at the neighboring Resource Recovery Facility.

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Other features of the new space would include a large community gathering space with bathrooms and kitchenette for hosting community/joint powers board/staff and training functions and an expanded reuse room and fix-it, refurbishment space, plastic reuse and hands-on learning lab space.

Additionally, there would be four public access electric vehicle charging stations, outdoor learning space and self-guided waste/recycling trail featuring interactive self-guided tours of the entire Resource Recovery and Recycling Campus, according to the PDSWM website.

The $5 million expansion, which is Phase l, also included a new organics composting facility in Douglas County, which is currently up and running, and a scale house that includes a shipping and receiving area, truck scale and a truck roads/queuing area.

The funding for the projects came after the Minnesota Legislature, in the fall of 2020, approved a $1.9 billion jobs and projects bill, which is known as the bonding bill.

A bonding request for Phase ll is currently in the works and includes $8.5 million in CAP funds. If those funds are secured, the money would be used for a Materials Recovery Facility.

Reinbold said during the special session, legislators couldn’t agree on CAP funding. However, he believes they still might get it approved yet this year.

“We are hopeful on that,” he said.

Although there is a pause on the expansion project, Reinbold said PDSWM is finalizing a long-term lease agreement with the city of Starbuck for an environmental drop site and work at the Glacial Ridge Compost site is just about complete.

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In addition, PDSWM is co-hosting a workshop — “Best practices for community organics composting collection and sites” — at the Glacial Ridge Compost facility on Tuesday, Aug. 16. The workshop is being presented by Minnesota GreenStep Cities and Tribal Nations.

Reinbold said space is limited, but that the workshop will be recorded. To register for the in-person or recording option , contact PDSWM at 320-763-9340.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects lead and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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