CLAFLIN — Last week, the City of Claflin received a welcome Christmas gift a little early.
Robert Gunder, who has been assisting the city with obtaining a new trailer for its recycling program, said that while they were expecting delivery around December or January, the trailer arrived this week. It is currently parked in front of the Claflin City Building and a plan to get it pressed into service as quickly as possible is being discussed.
Claflin Mayor Mike Urban credited Gunder with getting the ball rolling on the project earlier in the year.
“Claflin has been pretty active on recycling,” Mayor Urban said. “We’ve had a big steel-enclosed trailer that we’ve had down at the city shop for years and years. It’s antiquated; the doors are hard to open and it’s difficult to get the recycling material in there.”
The trailer makes regular weekly trips to the Sunflower Diversified Services recycling center to be unloaded. “It does take time and in the meantime we are without a receptacle in the city,” Urban noted.
“Mr. Gunder has been watching the process for the last several years, knowing that we were going to need something,” Urban noted. “This day and age, though, budgeting something like that in gets pretty rough” for the Claflin community’s 552 residents.
“He got really proactive on finding a grant that would pay for 75% of the cost of a new trailer. We were approved, but he went to the Barton County Commissioners to seek if they could pay for a portion of the balance.”
Gunder’s first steps earlier in the year took him to the Barton County Courthouse, where a Kansas Department of Health and Environment grant was found. Patty Schmidt at the Claflin city office assisted with typing the application and Gunder then did the legwork, he said. “We just kind of took this on together,” he said. “We applied and then just sat back and waited.”
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment application was approved and a 75% amount of $15,720.75 was awarded, leaving a cash match amount of $5,240.25 for the city to fund.
Gunder then went before the Barton County Commission in August to ask if they could help with a portion and the commissioners agreed to fund the entire amount of $5,240.75 at their Aug. 24 meeting.
The gift arrives
After the funding was secured, a new trailer with 16 removable plastic bins was ordered.
“We didn’t know exactly how long it would take, because of the nature of the plastics supply,” Gunder said. “We had figured it would be sometime in December or January. It showed up this week.”
Each bin has a swinging door making the unloading process easier for residents. The bins will be marked with signage designating the various types of products to be recycled.
The old trailer will still be used as a receptacle for cardboard or other flat recyclables.
“This is something that we’ve needed here for a long time,” Mayor Gunder said. “We really appreciate what everybody has done for us on this project.”