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More than 173,000 tires have been removed from the Chautauqua County landscape since 2000 as a result of the county's tire-amnesty program.

"This is great progress toward improving the environment and removing a health and fire hazard," County Executive Mark Thomas said.

Residents will be able to dispose of tires free of charge at designated locations in the coming weeks. From there, the tires are taken to the county landfill in Ellery, where inmates from the Chautauqua County Jail bale the tires for use in the reconstruction of county roads.

Bales of compacted tires were used in the rehabilitation of a section of Kabob Road in Stockton and East Road in Charlotte.

Kenneth Brentley, director of public facilities, called the program "a true example of intergovernmental cooperation and shared services."

The tire-amnesty program was authorized by the County Legislature last year at the request of the Department of Health, which viewed the standing tires as a mosquito-breeding ground and a West Nile Virus threat.

So far this year, the county has collected 18,224 tires from the City of Jamestown; towns of Clymer, French Creek, Mina, Sherman, North Harmony, Harmony, Sheridan, Kiantone, Busti, Carroll, Poland, Ellery, Gerry and Ellington; and the villages of Sherman, Panama, Lakewood, Celoron, Westfield, Falconer, Sinclairville, Bemus Point and Brocton.

Remaining collection dates follow:

June 26-July 7 -- Towns of Cherry Creek, Charlotte and Stockton; villages of Cherry Creek and Cassadaga.

July 10-21 -- Towns of Pomfret, Arkwright and Villenova; Village of Fredonia.

July 24-Aug. 4 -- City and town of Dunkirk.

Aug. 7-18 -- Town of Hanover; villages of Silver Creek and Forestville.

Aug. 21-Sept. 1 -- Town of Chautauqua; Village of Mayville; Chautauqua Institution.

Sept. 4-15 -- Towns of Ripley, Westfield and Ellicott.

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