Miami-Dade Waste Management officials say a new Neighborhood Trash and Recycling Center would be a convenience for residents in the Redland area of deep South Dade, a place to drop off yard waste, unwanted appliances, electronics, tires furniture and other bulky items.
The proposed center, on 10 acres at Southwest 202nd Avenue and 290th Street, would accept no regular garbage.
But Redland residents aren’t convinced. About 50 people crowded into a small meeting room at Fruit and Spice park Thursday night and gave county officials a clear message: We don’t want it.
Residents worried that the project would bring truck traffic and a bad smell, and that it would harm the groundwater in a neighborhood where homeowners get their water from private wells.
The county said the center would be part of a program to ensure that all county residents have a place to drop off large items within five miles of their homes. But in the Redland, where homes are on multi-acre lots scattered among plant nurseries, this convenience is neither needed nor wanted, residents said.
“They are basing it off of engineering that is within 5 miles; they are not basing it off of the community,” said resident Salvatore Devito. “Out here in rural Miami-Dade, the average plot is 5 acres. It’s not as dense as other areas. Let’s keep the Redlands rural.”
Patricia Milone, a resident of Redland since 1978, learned of Thursday’s meeting only one night in advance from a flyer someone stuffed in her mailbox. She made 40 copies of the flyer and passed them out in her neighborhood.
“What the county commissioners consistently neglect to accept is that this Redland farm area is very small, it‘s fragile and it unique,” Milone said after the meeting. “I’m hoping that they will go back and let them know we don’t want this out here.”
County Waste Management spokeswoman Jeanmarie Manze Massa said she was surprised by the opposition to the project.
“The purpose of this was to gather information. I didn‘t know, I thought people would be happy,” said Massa. “But it’s important to hear all this information. We are strictly gathering the input from the community.”
Residents watched a Power Point slideshow explaining the project, presented by Lee S. Casey Waste Management’s division director for Technical Services and Environmental Affairs. He said the project wasn’t a sure thing.
“That’s why we are collecting this feedback, this is a part of the process,” said Casey during the meeting that lasted little over an hour.
The officials said they were there to listen, and would take the neighborhood’s concerns back to their agency.
During the meeting many residents said that that community needs to unite so that their concerns are addressed. Milone urged residents to contact their county commissioners to voice their concerns.
“The commissioners need to hear from us.“ said Milone during the Wednesday meeting. “If they know what’s good for them, then this might be the last meeting if we get it across to them that we don’t want this.”