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Tire project proposed for W.Va. senior center

April 15, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Bunker Hill, W.Va., man who got in trouble with state environmental officials over a tire recycling program he was proposing now wants to work with a local senior citizens group on a tire project, officials said.

Denzil Bailey, who has proposed to Berkeley County, W.Va., officials an idea of using old tires as a road base to repair streets, would like to help the Berkeley Senior Services center on North High Street build a fitness track with the material, said Eileen Dooley, director of the center.

Dooley proposed the plan last week to the Berkeley County Commissioners, who own the property where the senior center is located.

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Commissioners Jim Smith and Wayne Dunham approved the project under two conditions: That Bailey assure officials that his proposal will work, and that he rectify his problem with the state Division of Environmental Protection.

"The only thing that bothers me is we're a guinea pig in this thing," said Dunham.

Berkeley Senior Services officials said they did not talk with Bailey about the situation involving the Division of Environmental Protection.

"He said he learned from his past experiences," said Dooley.

Bailey was charged with creating an open dump after he asked state highway officials if they would be interested in testing his product in Berkeley County.

Bailey said his product involves cutting used tires and fastening them to a mat, which is used to build the base of a road.

Highway officials suggested its use on a section of Grade Road, but told Bailey that special permits might be needed, officials said. Highway officials said before they could look into the matter, Bailey began hauling tires to the site.

A neighbor complained about the tires, which numbered about 500, and a state Division of Environmental Protection inspector charged Bailey with creating an open dump, which carries a possible fine of up to $25,000 and up to a year in jail, according to officials and court records.

The case is still pending in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

Dooley said the fitness track Bailey will help construct is about a quarter of a mile long. The track will also have about 10 exercise stations, Dooley said.

Bailey will use his product to build the base of the track, Dooley said.

The track is one of a number of improvements slated for the senior center.

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