COLUMBIA — Members of the Special Business District board hope that temporarily removing a few Dumpsters will make one downtown alley cleaner and more people-friendly.
The board has agreed to remove six trash bins from an alley serving several downtown businesses as part of a 60-day test. The alley is a half block south of Broadway, between Ninth and Tenth streets. Removal of the trash bins means employees of the affected businesses will have to go a little farther to get rid of their trash.
But no one seems to have a problem with that. The District surveyed the business owners to gauge opinion, and a majority responded positively, board member John Ott said.
Ott also owns the building that houses Poppy, the Kayotea Tearoom & Bistro and Elly’s Couture.
Barbara McCormick, the owner of Poppy at 914 E. Broadway, supports removing the trash containers.
“I think it will be inconvenient,” McCormick said. “But John Ott has done a tremendous amount of work investing in downtown, and all the things he’s contributed have a positive effect. Because of that, I am perfectly willing to walk a little farther to dump trash.”
The initiative comes as part of a push by Ott to redevelop downtown’s alleys. Ott is planning to redevelop his building to include alleyway entrances and is pushing for City Council approval of a proposal to name the alleys.
“This (alley) was chosen ... because we are working on the backs of some of the buildings that face Broadway. We are looking for ways to make it more pedestrian-friendly,” Ott said.
Meanwhile, the District isn’t looking to eliminate trash receptacles downtown, just to clean them up. Carrie Gartner, Special Business District director, acknowledged the situation with the test alley is “unique” because Ott is looking to develop businesses on the alleys.
“We have the alleys so people can throw out trash,” Gartner said. “(If we remove dumpsters) it has got to be for a good reason and has also got to work logistically.”
Instead, the district is looking to replace its Dumpsters with compactors. A compactor is much cheaper than a Dumpster and must be emptied only once a week. It also does a better job of controlling debris and odor, Gartner said.
If city Public Works Director John Glascock approves, the 60-day trial is expected to begin Nov. 1.