The Hopkinsville-Christian County Recycling Center applied for $227,211 in state grants to buy a sorter and another baler, and the waste department has made an offer to rent a vacant building.

David Gibbs, director of the recycling program, said he’s “very confident” the grant application will succeed. The state will respond by July.

If it does, the program will likely improve its profit margin by sorting materials better — so it can fetch higher prices.

It will also have cleared two of the biggest obstacles toward citywide curbside recycling service. Right now, its small building and limited equipment render such a service impossible.

Gibbs and Tony Sicari, director of the Hopkinsville Solid Waste Authority, have been eying the former Mountain Metals Manufacturing building on Old Concord Lane. Sicari said it’s been empty for eight years. The owner is asking for $4,800 a month, and Sicari countered with $2,500. He’s waiting for a response.

“It’s like a football field on the inside,” Sicari said Thursday afternoon, at a meeting of the Pennyrile Solid Waste Management Authority.

Gibbs continues looking at other properties too.

Sicari plans to ask the Christian County government to help pay the rent. He intends to submit a request within the next few weeks, before the fiscal court finalizes its 2013-14 budget.

Christian County Jail already sends inmates to work at the recycling center. Gibbs said the jail has confirmed that it can supply six inmates every day for the sorting line, should the grant come through.

Sicari said in February that if the grant comes through, he’ll ask the city for $1.26 million to buy Herby Curbies, which the department would need for curbside service.

REACH NICK TABOR at 270-887-3231

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