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— Barring any complications or weather delays, the county will open its first convenience center Nov. 7.

The convenience centers, which will take the place of the countywide annual cleanup days, will provide residents with a place where they can dispose of household items normally not picked up by the garbage man.

"We feel that it will be a far better service to open a convenience center rather than have a fall cleanup day," county administrator Chris Glass said Friday, adding that the convenience center will be open from 8 a.m.

until 3 p.m. each Saturday, except on holiday weekends.

The first convenience center is expected to open Nov. 7 behind the Benton County Road Department on Arkansas Highway 102in Bentonville. Access to the facility will be on Melissa Drive off Southwest I Street.

Construction is expected to begin as early as next week, Glass said.

Getting the initial convenience center online is expected to cost around $10,000, all of which will come from the county Environmental Department's budget. Not having the annual fall cleanup day, which costs $18,000 a year, will offset the cost of building the new convenience center, Glass said.

Use of the convenience center will be free to all county residents through the end of 2009. After that time, county representatives will look at the cost of running the convenience center before determining how much, if any, residents will be charged to dispose of household waste, Glass said.

"We really want it to bea service to the community and not any kind of profitmaking venture," Glass said.

"It is not our intent to make any money off of it." While residents will be allowed to dispose of old mattresses, computers and couches at the convenience center, it is still undecided whether it will accept tires or hazardous wastes. Vegetative waste will not be accepted, Glass said.

Should the initial convenience center prove to be a success, the county will open additional locations. A location on the east side of the county would be at the Road Department's satellite office on Wimpy Jones Road in Garfield, and on the western side of the county on Mount Olive Road near Arkansas Highway 59. County representatives are in the process of looking for an additional site near Lowell, Glass said.

Community, Pages 3 on 10/07/2009

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