Taking out the trash is about to take longer for many in the Fort Mill area.
How much longer, remains to be seen.
York County will close its collection and recycling center at 964 Tom Hall St. on Sept. 24. The nearest site after that date will be the Baxter facility at 1731 S.C. 160 West, an eight-mile round trip. The drive to Baxter and back shouldn’t be permanent, but there isn’t a definite plan for when a new site will replace the closing one, officials said.
“The county is working diligently to secure a site,” said Trish Startup, county spokesperson.
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The closing won’t impact town of Fort Mill residents, who get their trash picked up through the municipal service. For many residents in unincorporated Fort Mill, the collection centers are the go-to places for disposing of trash and recycling. The closing site sits on the border of two York County Council districts, one belonging to Councilman Chad Williams.
“We are looking for an additional site,” Williams said. “Not 100 percent sure how close we are. “We know it's going to take time. How much time, we don't know.”
The long-time site had to close when a lease expired with the property owner. The property was annexed into Fort Mill town limits and is part of a project bringing a new medical building to the site. The lease was extended one month to allow the county more time to get ready for the closing, but Sept. 24 is the final day.
The site has multiple levels and different containers for trash, debris and specialty materials, along with sorted recycling. Even if the county found a new site immediately, it will take time to set one up and open it to the public.
“They don't just happen,” Williams said. “You don't just move a couple of cans over there and call it a Saturday.”
Residents who use the site already are making plans. While some use it for all their disposal needs, others use it for recycling only or for disposing of items regular pick-up services don’t take. On Facebook, answers varied among Fort Mill Times readers when asked how the county change impacts them.
“Driving to Baxter is not an option for us because it is already crazy over there and will now be worse,” wrote Teresa Dyckes. “We are calling this week to arrange pick up with a trash collection service.”
Isa Bertelli already uses a trash and recycling service, but uses the county site some, too. Bertelli isn’t interested in going to Baxter for the same service.
“It is chaotic most of the time,” Bertelli wrote.
County public works officials have said the Baxter site is one of the busiest. On Saturdays, cars are often backed up to the entrance.
Cindy Carner “will be driving to Baxter, but we won’t be happy about it,” she wrote. Chip Heemsoth uses the Tom Hall site for recycling, but won’t travel west of I-77 for it.
“I use the site for recycling and my recycling habits will definitely change,” he wrote. “I will not go to the Baxter site.”
Traffic and distance are common concerns with going to Baxter. Some are concerned trash may not make it to any proper disposal location.
“I predict we will see a large increase in garbage and other refuse dumped along the roads,” wrote Bruce Potts. “Bad enough now, this will only make it worse.”
The county has 16 convenience centers, including the one set to close in Fort Mill. Most are in rural areas. Williams said he understands why residents are concerned about losing their site, and work is ongoing to help mitigate the impacts.
"Hopefully it won't be too terribly inconvenient to bridge the gap between this one and another one," he said.