La PORTE — A 26-acre piece of property near the La Porte County Fairgrounds has come a long way from its days as a dump for old Christmas trees.
On Thursday, the staff of the La Porte County Solid Waste District invited the public to celebrate the recent opening of its new compost facility at 724 Ziegler Road in La Porte. In addition to cutting the ceremonial ribbon, officials gave visitors a tour of the facility, which houses the district's grinder, front-end loaders, dump truck and other composting equipment.
The District's three-person compost team has been using the building since July, with crews installing new fencing around the site last month, said Clay Turner, executive director. It's located next to the brush and yard waste drop-off site the district has operated for public use for several decades.
The building replaces a similar structure the recycling agency used when it had its composting operation outside the Westville Correctional Facility. The district, with the assistance of prison inmates, formerly utilized that property to transform yard waste and other materials into compost which it would sell to the public.
The State of Indiana, which owns the 33-acre Westville property near U.S. 6 and Ind. 2, informed district officials in 2017 that it would end its land-use agreement. The state gave the district until June 2018 to find a new site for the compost operation.
Given the public's high usage of the Ziegler Road drop-off site – which the district first used in the late 1990s as a place for residents to dispose of Christmas trees – turning the site into a one-stop-shop was a natural move, Turner said.
"It just seemed like a logical site," he said. "Once we landed on it, the project just took off."
During manned hours, La Porte County residents can drop off yard waste at the site. They can also purchase compost, mulch and firewood processed at the facility, and pay for at the district's central office on Ind. 2, Turner said.
"[The new building] will be a great asset to the community," he said. "It's certainly made this property a nicer looking area."
The compost site is open from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information call 326-0014 or visit solidwastedistrict.com.