The Journal Gazette
Friday, May 13, 2022 1:00 am

Where the garbage got left behind

GFL tours areas skipped on trash day

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne City Council member took GFL Environmental officials on a brief tour Thursday of areas where the city's outgoing trash hauler hasn't provided consistent service. 

Councilman Geoff Paddock, R-5th, said he wanted to show some of the constituents who have reported numerous missed trash and recycling collections over the last four years what they can expect once GFL takes over July 1.

Linda Lallow, who has lived on Cottage Avenue south of downtown for 48 years, said she has reported missed collections and leftover trash debris by Red River frequently over the last 31/2 years. She's excited for GFL to take over.

“I hope they do like the old companies did – come down, get the garbage, put the bin back and go on their way,” Lallow said. “That's all we ask.”

Red River's last day serving Fort Wayne will be June 30. The company entered into a transition agreement with the city after it filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy in October.

Fort Wayne City Council members Tuesday gave the eight-year contract with GFL final approval, The contract limits city residents' trash collection to one cart plus three bags weekly with recycling pickups every other week.

Paddock said he wants to help make the transition to GFL as smooth as he can. One of his efforts was showing GFL officials around some of the problem areas in his district, which includes the majority of the city's alley pickups, Paddock said.

It's not just Lallow's house that gets missed. It's all of her neighbors who put out trash in the alley, a situation similar to many other reports made by city residents. They have no other choice as the 900 block of Cottage Avenue is a one-way street with parking on both sides.

Lallow said she doesn't consider the alley, which is about 14 feet wide and paved, to be tough to navigate compared with other alleys in the neighborhood.

Sam Caramagno, GFL's director of municipal affairs, agreed, saying the company has dealt with various tight spaces in other cities, including Detroit.

“I've seen a lot of alleys,” Caramagno said. “This isn't considered bad by me.”

Lallow said she's even more excited for GFL to take over the city's service after meeting company officials. She never met anyone from Red River, despite the constant service issues she has reported.

Paddock also showed GFL representatives some of the trickier alleys in his district. Some alleyways in historic neighborhoods are not parallel to the road, as one would expect.

Between Broadway and Beaver Avenue, by Wildwood Avenue, the mazelike alley takes unexpected turns. Caramagno said GFL is familiar with the unique alleyways in Fort Wayne and drivers will use a mini packer truck in the alleys that are too tight for larger garbage trucks.

“It's got a wide range, but it's nothing we haven't seen before in metro Detroit and other areas of the country,” Caramagno said. “It's not going to be too difficult to handle this job.”

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