The City of Maple Plain closed the gates to the city-owned compost site on Aug. 19, 2019. After spending the next few weeks raking and mulching up bags of yard waste, city residents Kathy and Todd Waller started to make efforts to gain support for a new compost site.
Kathy Waller began a petition on Change.org to get signatures in support of a new city compost site. As of Jan. 8, the petition has 67 signatures with a goal of 100.
“We would like a solution to the recent compost problem in Maple Plain, MN,” the petition states. “With the closing of the local compost area, the neighborhood has now been tasked with finding new ways to get rid of leaves, branches and other organic waste. These new ways have not only been more time consuming for those involved, but more costly as well.”
The city sent a letter before the closure explaining the site will be used to expand the lift station by the Metropolitan (MET) Council.
According to City Administrator Bobby Shoen, the MET Council needs the land and the city is listening when residents need help with picking up extra bags.
“The expansion is critical to the future development around the City of Maple Plain. The city is prepared to offer water services to new developments around Maple Plain to generate new city revenue. Without a lift station expansion, these future developments could not happen. Unfortunately, we do have some folks that are not residents that do abuse the compost site and illegally dump. The cost to maintain the compost site is becoming more of a financial challenge for the city,” the letter stated.
After the Wallers received the letter, they became “frustrated and disappointed.”
“If you look around the yard...we have a lot of trees. We have two hundred cottonwoods, a big maple and a couple maples upfront. We have a lot of leaves and a lot of other litter throughout the summer, sticks and things...It was a huge inconvenience to not haul them off to the compost dump,” Todd Waller said.
Previously, the Wallers would use their 4-by-4-by-8 trailer to haul approximately 30 loads of yard waste throughout the season. Instead, their yard waste was mulched, bundled and put into bags for Randy’s Environmental Services. According to Todd, they used approximately 100 compostable bags this season.
“We understand the land is going to be used to increase the water supply for some new housing in Maple Plain and that’s great. We just think that in a town, an older town in Maple Plain with all the mature trees in everybody’s yard, that our community should have a better plan then, hey let the garbage man pick it up,” he said.
Kathy Waller decided to take action and use her evening walks to knock on her neighbors’ doors to discuss the closure and ask them to sign the petition. In the near future, Kathy aims to attend a city council meeting to speak to the council members on the issue and show the support from the signatures and her conversations with other residents.
While Kathy found no issue with Randy’s, other than the time it took to pack all their yard waste down, at the end of the season they still had bags that needed to be picked up. She then went to Maple Plain City Hall to see if the city could help.
According to the Wallers, the city gathers up a few workers and went out to gather up the rest of the yard waste bags so the residents did not have to store them until next season.
“I do have to give the city credit,” Todd said.
Shoen confirmed the city went out with the public works department and picked up the remaining bags for the residents and the city is available to listen and assist as residents become familiar with Randy’s.
However, Kathy plans to continue to continue the discussion with her neighbors until she steps in front of the city council.
“This is a mature tree town. It’s beautiful. There’s a reason it’s called Maple Plain,” Todd said.
The petition can be found by searching Maple Plain compost at Change.org