Binghampton Program aims to help fight city’s illegal dumping problem

Published: Jan. 22, 2022 at 9:36 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The rising awareness of illegal dumping in the city is pushing one neighborhood organization to turn one man’s trash into another man’s treasure.

There’s not an official name for it yet, but when we spoke with local artist Tad Pierson. He mentioned Recycle and Cycle as a potential header for this pilot program.

Turning illegally dumped tires into bike lane buffers is the goal.

“In Memphis, particularly, all you have to do is ride around town, and you see them everywhere,” Pierson said, referring to tires being dumped throughout the city.

Pierson is now incorporating some of that into his work.

“I take sort of cast out trash items, trash material, and create useful things out of them,” he said.

Pierson is working with the Binghampton Development Corporation (BDC) to install 420 tires down Broad Avenue as part of a pilot program to buffer the road’s bike lanes.

“It’s often quite expensive to build protective bike lanes or even protect bike lanes in any way,” said Andy Kizzee, BDC’s Business Hub Director. “And so, this is a cost-effective option, taking tires that were dumped illegally.”

“A beautiful design in sort of a practical situation,” Pierson echoed.

What’s more is the installation of the barriers is part of a BDC program that offers soft skill job training to people recovering from drug and alcohol addictions and criminal records, like Nathan Hall -- trying to make a change in his life.

“I had a drug addiction problem,” Hall said. “This program, thus far, has had a huge change, a tremendous change, honestly.”

“We just really love the full circle nature of the project: blighted tires in Binghampton, Binghampton jobs, and safer bike lanes in Binghampton,” Kizzee said.

“It really works. It sort of solves three different problems at once,” said Pierson.

The BDC has an agreement with the city to wait one year and see this pilot project’s efficiency before agreeing to fund efforts on other roadways.

“We’ve already done our own testing, and these things hold up,” Pierson said. “Cars run over them, and I think they’re durable. The proof is in the pudding.”

“We’re probably capable of producing about 500 of these a month,” Kizzee said. “That’s just a drop in the bucket from a tires perspective, but that’s a mile of roadway. Hopefully, we can get approval to be able to be used on other city bike lane projects.”

This is just one of several BDC projects.

Hall is a Binghampton resident and a part of BDC’s first class of trainees.

He and others will be finished with the training program in a few months, hopeful to be hired to the city’s skilled labor force and continue to give back to his community.

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