A recent partnership between the city and the Upper Arlington Rotary Club has spurred a recycling pilot program at Thompson Park.

On Saturday, April 1, city and Rotary representatives were at Thompson Park to unveil three newly installed solid-waste and recycling bins.

The Rotary Club provided a $4,000 grant to offset the $8,800 total price tag of the bins, in hopes of kick-starting a program to help keep Thompson Park clean, encourage recycling there and throughout the community and, potentially, to expand recycling to other city parks.

"The city is looking to possibly put recycling containers in all of the parks," Rotary Club president Chip Knoop said. "We sort of heard about this need.

"Every year, our District 6690 looks to find these small projects in each of our communities. This is really a city initiative that we helped to do as much as we all can to save the environment and encourage recycling."

The three trash and recycling bins are permanent installations at Thompson.

Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Director Debbie McLaughlin said Thompson was selected for the pilot project because it's a large, often-used park that draws a number of adult and youth visitors, including those participating in baseball, softball and soccer programs.

"If this is successful, we'll look into phasing in to other parks," McLaughlin said. "In addition to encouraging recycling in our parks, we're hopeful this will encourage people in the community to recycle at home.

"Hopefully, folks at young ages also will see the recycling going on and understand that recycling is better for the environment."

Upper Arlington schools also are partnering in the project. Items such as plastics and papers collected at Thompson will be taken to larger recycling dumpsters at district schools before being taken by away by solid-waste haulers to be broken down and made into other products.

McLaughlin said the Thompson Park project also will help the city determine how best to proceed with an expanded program, including the possible installation of large recycling units or dumpsters at parks that have adequate space for them.

"This will give us an idea of how much volume to expect," she said.

In addition to the grant and last Saturday's unveiling of the bins, the Rotary Club used the occasion to help clean Thompson for the upcoming recreation season.

Knoop said 25 to 30 Rotarians, including student members of the organization, took part.

McLaughlin said both efforts were appreciated, and show how organizations and individuals can team with the city to benefit the greater community.

"We're looking forward to this pilot recycling program in the park and we're very grateful to the Upper Arlington Rotary both for the grant and their service in cleaning the park," she said.

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