COLUMBIA - The dumpsters in the Walnut Street alley smell like “hot rotting garbage, depending on the time of day,” said Lee Sensinaffar, the owner of Iron Tiger Tattoo.
Some businesses hope a new plan the city is considering would help reduce the smell. It would authorize the city to purchase the property at 912 East Walnut to develope a solid waste collection site. It would include a trash compactor, a cardboard recycling compactor, and two dumpsters for plastic, glass and metal containers intended to be recycled.
Some business owners have been complaining about the trash overload and the smell of the alley for months. Dean Zapf, a manager at MidiCi, said walking through the wide alleyway isn’t a smooth all the time.
“You're walking down through and you're wanting to get something to eat and suddenly your appetite is gone cause you stepped in a diaper,” he said.
Zapf said he hopes the city is able to add the collection site before summer hits.
“I think it needs to happen before Night Street Summer Fest comes around cause that's gone stink, that’s gonna be bad,” he said.
Zapf said, even though his restaurant doesn’t use the dumpsters on Walnut, he still has concerns about it affecting the restaurant.
“I just don’t want that overflow to become so bad that it's now in the street and now it's at our doorstep and, I mean, we’re not in New York City , we’re in Columbia. C'mon, we can do better than this,” he said.
Zapf said one sniff could ruin someone’s entire appetite.
“A lot of people have to park three-four streets over to just get a pizza and it kind of sucks for a lot of people, and if you’re going through that alleyway suddenly your not hungry anymore,” he said.
Sensintaffar said he has seen liquid drip from the dumpster and spill onto the sidewalk. He said when he and his daughter want to take a walk they have to go on the other side of the street.
“They compact it here on the sidewalk with the trash truck so then you have all of those other juices and grossness coming out over here on the sidewalk,” he said.
Sensinstaffar said he hopes the new recycling bins would help stop the tracking in of debris on customers’ shoes.
“People are tracking in grease and other stuff into the business so we, basically, we gotta run a mop 24/7 in order to make sure that we clean all that stuff up,” he said.
According to a city memo, the total cost for this project would be $690,000.
The city does not have a set date yet on when it might plan to place the recycling bins in the alley.