By HANNAH SCHAEFER
BRUNSWICK â€” Vince Carl and Bob Martin are sick and tired of tires.
Over the past three years, city Parks and Recreation Director Martin and Ward 2 Councilman Carl have coordinated the clearing of tens of thousands of tires from the junkyard at 3868 Laurel Road near Hopkins Park, and theyâ€™re finally around the halfway point with roughly 13,500 tires pulled from the site so far, Carl said.
â€œWe originally thought there were 20,000 tires on this site, but itâ€™s closer to 30,000,â€ Carl said. â€œWhat we found out the hard way is, weâ€™d see a stack of tires sitting there, and weâ€™d say, â€˜OK, thereâ€™s about 2,000 tires there.â€™ What we didnâ€™t know was that stack of tires was in a hole about 8 feet deep, and there would be another group of tires under there that you couldnâ€™t see.â€
Martin added mounds of dirt, weeds and even trees hid many of the tires from view in the muddy junkyard.
â€œI think theyâ€™ve been reproducing underground,â€ Martin joked.
Carl said to clean up the mess â€” built up from years of dumping on the once-family-owned site the city acquired for $35 on April 1, 2005 â€” it costs about $1 per regular-sized tire and $5 per truck tire.
â€œThere hasnâ€™t been a cent of city funds spent on this,â€ Martin said. â€œThatâ€™s the best part.â€
Instead, the Adopt-a-Tire program, which collects donations from residents, businesses and organizations, has paid to remove each tire, Carl said.
â€œItâ€™s an example of businesses and residents acting as a community just to solve a problem,â€ Carl said. â€œTo me, itâ€™s been very, very heartwarming to have people pull together to get this project done.â€
An Ohio-based company, Genesis, is now working to de-rim tires. Previously, individuals worked to remove the rims, a slow process, Carl said. Genesis uses a large machine to crush the rims from inside the tires. When rims are removed from tires, more tires can be stacked on trucks to be hauled away and recycled, he added.
â€œIt will de-rim a tire in seconds,â€ Carl said of the machine Genesis uses. â€œItâ€™s very, very cool.â€
Inmates from the Medina County Jail work at the site to load tires onto trucks to be recycled, Carl added.
Once the area is cleared, the 3-acre space will be used for additional parking for Hopkins Park, Martin said. Now, the area doesnâ€™t have enough parking spots to accommodate the five soccer fields the 32-acre park encompasses. Martin added some of Hopkinsâ€™ other parking areas may be converted into additional soccer fields.
The asphalt of Hopkins Parkâ€™s new parking lot will have a fitting element, Martin said.
â€œWhen (tires) go and get shredded, you can actually have tires put into your asphalt,â€ Martin said. â€œWeâ€™re going to use that process when we put the parking lot down. Itâ€™ll be rather symbolic that the tires are being removed, shredded up, then put back on the ground. Once a tire dump, always a tire dump.â€
Carl said he hopes the last tire will be removed from the site by the end of the summer, but considering the surprises heâ€™s encountered so far, heâ€™s not making any promises.
To donate to the Adopt-a-Tire program, visit Brunswick city hall, 4095 Center Road.
Schaefer may be reached at 330-721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.