Tire grant a go

County plans to offer three chances to citizens to get rid of old tires

By Deb Hadachek Telescope editor

Republic County has been approved for up to $11,000 in expenses from the Dane Hansen Foundation to conduct a countywide tire cleanup.

In addition three communities: Courtland, Narka and Cuba, will receive funds for additioinal plans to spruce up their neighborhoods.

Republic County Commissioners and Luke Mahin, economic development director, decided Monday that the tire cleanup will be conducted three different weeks on different sides of the county to enable as many people to participate as possible.

“That way if someone misses one week, they still have a chance to bring tires to another location,” Mahin said.

The only requirement is that people who bring tires sort them into two piles: one for passenger vehicles, the other for implements.

The lion’s share of the grant will pay for Champlin Tire, Concordia, to pick up the tire piles. Champlin estimated that based on population, Republic County could have 5,000 old tires laying around.

Champlin makes park benches and tables from recycled tires.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment encourages citizens to get rid of old tires because they often become breeding ground for mosquitos.

Possible house construction

A least a few of the old tires stockpiled by the Republic County Highway Department have been dropped off at Axtell were Bob Alfers hopes to use them to build a house.

Alfers is a stepson of former Belleville resident Lonnie Roe. He contacted Republic County after Roe showed him the Belleville Telescope article about the county’s application for the tire cleanup grant.

“We’ve taken him a hundred or so,” Highway Administrator Dusty Zenger said Monday. Alfers’ site is on the way to the location where the highway department picks up road materials, he said.

“He could come rob these piles before they’re hauled away.”

Alfers said he needs about 750 tires to build the house he plans, based on an Earthship sustainable housing model he has been researching. The tires would provide the shell to the walls, which would be stuccoed, he said.

“I’m not looking to build a great big home,” he said. “Anything you can do on any other home you can do on an Earthship home,” he said. “The difference is that the walls are going to be two feet thick.”

Alfers says he envisions cabins that he hopes to build for his sister, Cindy McDowell, and himself.

He said the possibility of building a house from tires was piqued by his interest in recycling.

“Unless people start thinking of alternate ways to use things, we’re going to be buried in trash,” he said.