South Charlotte

Foxhole critics want long-term solution

Ballantyne-area residents say they are pleased - yet guarded - about last week's big news: ReVenture Park, the proposed power plant that was to be fueled by burning Mecklenburg County's trash, is being scaled back and no longer will need the county's waste.

That means ReVenture's residual ash and waste will not be sent to the county-owned Foxhole facility on U.S. 521, which currently holds only construction and demolition debris.

Meanwhile, the county is working to extend an agreement with the Republic Services landfill in Cabarrus County that currently takes Mecklenburg County's trash.

The existing contract expires June 30, 2012, and if a new agreement isn't signed, Mecklenburg County's garbage would go to the Foxhole, which is close to several neighborhoods, ball fields and Elon Park Elementary School.

But at a recent public meeting, county officials said they were looking at one-year and five-year proposals with Republic and are optimistic no trash would be sent to Foxhole for at least six years.

Residents say they won't breathe easy until they see the proposals become contracts that then are approved by the county commission.

"My reaction is very positive but guarded," said Jack Jackson, who serves on the Foxhole Advisory Committee, which works with the county to discuss changes at Foxhole.

"On the Stop the Foxhole Landfill Facebook page, we've got a lot of positive response from people," said Jackson. Still, "some people say 'OK, that sounds great, but until we've got a contract, we're not going to stop (fighting).'"

Peggy Beck, founder of GRACE (Group Responsible for a Clean Environment), the neighborhood group that first fought to keep Foxhole from being built in the early 1990s, said she was surprised and thrilled when she saw ReVenture's press release.

But Beck likened the lingering Foxhole situation to buying a house: Nothing is final until the closing papers are signed.

Beck and Jackson want to see a 10-year contract with Republic.

South Charlottean John Halpin, who has a daughter, Abby, in first grade at Elon Park Elementary, created the Stop the Foxhole Facebook page and @stopthefoxhole on Twitter.

Halpin said they expect the county to discuss the Republic contract options at the next meeting.

"I was relieved to hear (the ReVenture) option was off the table," said Halpin. "Now I'm going to pay very close attention to make sure that the Foxhole (isn't) used for any waste."