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City faces dilemma with yard debris

One of Mayor John Elam’s last requests for city council is a wood chipper.

The city faces a dilemma. By handing the property near Molten Field where the city had a compost pile over to the Friends of Ironton to turn into Veterans Park, the city has no place to put yard debris.

“It has put us in something of a quagmire with where we are going to put our new compost,” Elam said.

According to Elam, the solution is to get a wood chipper to turn the debris into mulch.

Elam had talked to the Village of Coal Grove last year about buying their Gravely wood chipper with a 115 horsepower John Deere turbo engine, which the village bought a few years ago but has only used for about 20 hours.

Elam said the tentative plan is to set up a compost pile behind the municipal garage to control what is brought in and illegal dumping.

“It wouldn’t take very long for that to become a semblance of what the organic pile is right now,” Elam said.

Right now, city residents are continuing to dump at the Molten Field site until other arrangements are made making it hard for the cleanup to continue.

Rick Jansen, the president of the Friends of Ironton, said his group would help pay for the chipper in return for use of it while they clean the debris from the future Veterans Park site.

“I think the Friends of Ironton would like the city to acquire this under some type of arrangement that we could use this as well,” he said, adding the FOI has talked to rental places and they are looking at having to spend a couple thousand dollars a month to rent one. “I think the city should be looking at getting a chipper.”

Elam said the chipper is out of warranty, but parts are still available for it. He said they could probably get the chipper for no more than $16,000 which he said is around the current value for a machine of that type and age. The chipper can grind up a 12-inch diameter tree.

The councilmen agreed to look into the issue. It has to be sponsored as an ordinance before the council can vote on it.