Thursday, March 27, 2014

Forks of River waste center closing

Knox County will close its Forks of the River Convenience Center, located in the eastern part of the county, on April 30, according to Solid Waste Director Tom Salter.

The county will move equipment from the center to the John Sevier Center in the next two weeks, and will “likely stop taking metal, tires and auto fluids” at that time.

The county maintains eight centers and the state requires it to have at least three, according to Salter.
The Forks of the River center is apparently the lowest performing convenience center in terms of vehicle traffic and weight collected, he added. The other two low performing centers are in the Carter and Karns communities, although the Forks center handles half the weight of those.

Officials said they will upgrade the John Sevier Center to help with the impact from closing the Forks operation.

Here’s some background on the Forks center, provided by Salter:

It was originally constructed as a temporary site to handle traffic during the construction of the John Sevier Center.

The Forks of the River Convenience Center takes up 1.8 acres (14%) of a 13.1 acre site.  86% of the site was not being used for any mission-related activity and the property is not on the tax rolls.

Later, the County used the portion of the site not used as a Convenience Center as 1) a waste tire collection site, 2) the site for the County’s yard waste contractor and 3) as storage for unused equipment.  One of the ongoing concerns has been that 11.3 acres of prime industrial park land was underutilized, especially after closure of the yard waste facility.  Sale of the land would allow it to return to a higher and better use and return it to the tax rolls.  The possibility of selling just the unused portion of the site was explored, but the Convenience Center is in the center of the site and essentially splits the land into two sections, making it impractical for a buyer to properly utilized the whole site.

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