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RECYCLING EFFORT NOW INCLUDES OLD SIDEWALKS

Add another item to the list of recyclables: sidewalks.

In the Village of Blasdell, crews are breaking up old sidewalks and saving the concrete to be recycled at a Buffalo company.

It is part of the Erie County Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling Project.

"Recycling concrete saves landfill space and creates job opportunities," said Tom Hersey, coordinator of the Pollution Prevention Program for the county Department of Environment and Planning.

Village Public Works Department crews are demolishing the old sidewalks in a sidewalk restoration program that aims to replace nearly 25,000 feet of the village's 42,000 feet of sidewalks.

"Participating in the recycling program will save taxpayer money by avoiding disposal fees at expensive landfills," Blasdell Mayor Ernest Jewett said. "We were just excited we didn't have to pay somebody to take our concrete."

During the demolition phase of the sidewalk reconstruction project, the village has agreed to recycle the concrete at CTS Crushing and Recycling. A final report on the total amount of material recycled will be made available.

Recycling the concrete is just one of the ways the village found to save money during the project. Having village crews break up the sidewalks is another, leaving the laying of the new sidewalks to an outside contractor.

The $155,000 project will use nearly $100,000 in federal community development block grant funds. The village also is adding money from a sidewalk improvement project fund started last year.

Jewett also praised the efforts of County Legislator Edward J. Kuwik, D-Lackawanna, for obtaining about $30,000 in county funds for the project.

The village put together the large project by planning for several years and forgoing any block grant projects last year.

"What we have here is two years worth of money," Jewett said.

Sidewalk replacement projects in the past were only able to deal with smaller sections, he said, while many of the village sidewalks were in need of repair.

The mayor said the village also gave residents the option to pay to have their driveway approaches replaced for about $2.25 per square foot.

"We offered village residents brand new approaches at cost. We're not making a dime," Jewett said.

He said the village hopes to continue the program next year and replace all of the sidewalks by the fall of 2000.

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