Longtime dump in Bourbon County Black neighborhood will finally be moved

Nearly two years after funding was announced, the city of Paris is finally moving forward with plans to move a city trash transfer station out of a mostly Black neighborhood.

On Wednesday, the city released bids for the removal and relocation of the Paris Waste Transfer Station from Paris’ Westside neighborhood to an area off of Legion Road and the Paris bypass.

Paris City Manager Jamie Miller said they expect to analyze the five bids, four of which came under the engineer’s estimate of $5 million, and make a decision at a Feb. 27 meeting. The lowest bid was $3.7 million and the highest $5.1 million.

In September 2022, Gov. Andy Beshear announced a $2 million Community Development Block Grant to help pay for the removal of the waste station.

There’s been hiccups along the way as costs have continued to climb.

Earlier bids for the project were submitted in the fall but those bids came in much, much higher than expected. Miller said the city then went back to the drawing board and re-engineered the design to make it less expensive.

Once the bid is awarded, it will likely take three to four months for construction to start, Miller said. Construction on the new transfer and recycling center is expected to take one year.

In addition to the Community Development Block Grant, the city is also pursuing other grant funding, a low-interest loan from the state, other state funding and possibly bond funds to pay for the construction of the transfer station.

“We will find the funding,” Miller said. “This is a priority project for the community.”

Gov. Andy Beshear shakes the hand of Kentucky veteran Albert West, 99, who lives near Paris, KY’s city dump along with veterans William Woodford, left, 88, and David Downey, center, 96. Beshear announced a $2 million grant on September 12, 2022 to relocate the city’s dump away from residential areas. Marcus Dorsey/mdorsey@herald-leader.com
Gov. Andy Beshear shakes the hand of Kentucky veteran Albert West, 99, who lives near Paris, KY’s city dump along with veterans William Woodford, left, 88, and David Downey, center, 96. Beshear announced a $2 million grant on September 12, 2022 to relocate the city’s dump away from residential areas. Marcus Dorsey/mdorsey@herald-leader.com

A transfer station and a dump on the Westside

Originally the town incinerator, the transfer station, where garbage is dumped and then hauled to a landfill, was placed in the predominately Black neighborhood in 1965, according to records.

The effort to relocate the transfer station began in 2019, when former Paris City Commissioner Anna Allen-Edwards convened a group of concerned citizens, which became the Westside Neighborhood group.

Paris funded a strategic action plan facilitated by EHI Planning Consultants. The remediation of the current waste transfer station and former incinerator site was identified as one of the top items of concern for the Westside neighborhood.

In addition to the incinerator, the Westside is also home to a closed landfill. Many public works projects were placed in Black and lower-income neighborhoods in the 1950s and 1960s because those neighborhoods had little or no political clout to fight those types of projects.

It’s now a transfer station with trucks coming and going. In its study, EHI estimated that more than 30 trucks a day go through the Westside neighborhood to access the transfer station.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced $2 million grant on September 12, 2022 to relocate the dump in the city of Paris away from residential areas. Marcus Dorsey/mdorsey@herald-leader.com
Gov. Andy Beshear announced $2 million grant on September 12, 2022 to relocate the dump in the city of Paris away from residential areas. Marcus Dorsey/mdorsey@herald-leader.com

Bill Alverson, a retired CEO of a local bank, has helped steer the project. Alverson credited multiple city leaders, including Miller, Mayor John Plummer and Bourbon County Judge Mike Williams. The Bourbon County Fiscal Court donated the land where the new transfer station will be built.

Once built, the new transfer station will be much easier to get to, resulting in less truck traffic going through the Westside neighborhood.

Vanessa Logan has been part of the effort to get the transfer station moved since 2019. Logan said after the transfer station is moved, the group will look to find funding for environmental remediation of the current site. The area was once a Black park.

“People want to park, waterways, green areas and amphitheaters,” Logan said. Although it’s taken time to get the transfer station moved, Logan said she’s optimistic that things are moving forward. “Really, it’s been three years. We know there are brownfields (polluted land) that have taken years to clean up.”