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The new Glen Alpine center is open

  • Trash goes into one of the compactors last week at the new Anderson County Convenience Center off Norris Freeway (U.S. 441) just south of Andersonville Highway. The larger facility opened recently, replacing the one on Sinking Springs Road, which has been permanently closed. - G. Chambers Williams III

  • Despite the sign informing people that the Glen Alpine Convenience Center on Sinking Springs Road had been closed permanently in late December, some people went ahead and illegally dumped their trash outside the locked gate. The sign directs people to the new convenience center on Norris Freeway (U.S. 441) just south of Andersonville Highway. - G. Chambers Williams III

Attention, folks: Anderson County has opened the new Glen Alpine solid-waste disposal site to replace the previous one on Sinking Springs Road, and the old one is now permanently closed.

The new convenience center is along the east side of U.S. 441/Norris Freeway just south of Andersonville Highway in Norris, and it’s been open since Dec. 20.

Still, despite a sign on the gate at the old convenience center directing people to the new site, people are either dumping their garbage outside the locked gate there, or driving to other county convenience centers that are farther away.

That’s causing some congestion at those other sites, said Geoff Trabalka, solid-waste coordinator for the Anderson County Office of Planning and Development.

“We’re functioning at the new site, but we haven’t had our grand opening yet,” he said Tuesday. “We have a couple of pieces still not in place. And we’re struggling with people unaware of the new site even though there is a sign up at the old location.

“We’ve had an excess overflow of people going to our other two convenience centers,” he said. “And people dropping their garbage at the old site has also been a little bit of an issue.”

One of the “pieces” Trabalka still needs to get in place at the new convenience center is a sign on U.S. 441 at the turnoff to the site telling people it’s there, he said.

Unless people know where it is, it’s a bit hard to find now, with no permanent sign marking the spot. A small temporary sign got blown over during last week’s storms, he said.

“We want a really nice sign, and we’re working on that,” Trabalka said.

Dropping garbage bags outside the gate at the old site is illegal, and a sign on the fence notes that people who do that are subject to prosecution.

Some people on local social media sites have expressed confusion about the relocation of the convenience center and have asked for help finding the new site. Others have expressed disgust that some people are dumping their trash outside the old site, and one poster said he had picked up some of the illegally discarded garbage bags and taken them to the new site.

The new convenience center actually is easy to find, even without a big sign in place. Coming from Clinton on Andersonville Highway, turn right on Norris Freeway/U.S. 441 at the traffic light, and keep an eye out for the new dedicated left-turn lane about a quarter-mile down the road.

That leads into the new center, which is on a much larger piece of land than the old center. The official address is 3065 Norris Freeway, but that does not yet show up as a precise location on some GPS maps.

“Citizens are advised that, as this is a new address, their GPS devices may not accurately pinpoint the new location,” Trabalka said.

The $670,000 project, which included $375,000 for the 17-acre site, was paid for out of the county’s general fund and the solid waste reserve fund. The old site was less than a half-acre.

It’s open the same hours as the old site, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday (closed Sunday), Trabalka said.

James Rutherford, who has been an attendant at the Sinking Springs convenience center for the past four years, said late last week that he’s enjoying working at the new site.

“People seem to like it, and I certainly like it better than the old one,” he said as he helped a customer dispose of a mattress and box springs.

Rutherford, who turned 80 this year, said he will probably work at the new site through the winter, and “retire again sometime next spring.” He had retired earlier after working 45 years as a trash truck driver, he said.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation widened and re-striped Norris Freeway at the entrance to the site to provide the left-turn lane for traffic entering the site from the north.

“Once a permanent sign is installed at the new location and landscaping is completed, an official ribbon cutting will be scheduled to recognize the many individuals and organizations who helped develop the new facility,” Trabalka said.

Because the convenience center takes up only about seven acres of the property the county purchased, the rest of the land will be sold and that money will be used to reduce the overall cost of the project, he said.

Just as with the present center, the new location accepts household garbage; and some recycling, such as paper, cardboard and some plastic (but no Styrofoam or garbage bags), as well as aluminum cans and steel food cans, Trabalka said. It will not take glass for recycling, but glass can be dumped with household trash.

“We also will have an open-top container for bulk items, such as couches, mattresses and so forth,” he said. “Still not allowed will be tires, paint, auto batteries, or anything with freon – such as refrigerators, air-conditioning units, dehumidifiers.”

There will always be an attendant on site when the center is open, provided by contractor Waste Connections of Knoxville.