‘Garbage Mahal’ built to solve bear problem
Steamboat Springs — A group of Steamboat Springs homeowners have made a $70,000 investment to ensure bears do not get into their trash.
Steamboat Ridge Townhomes homeowners association President Brian Harvey said they knew they had a problem.
For years, their trash and recycling dumpsters were located on a road connecting to a trail that leads along a drainage to another neighborhood.
Bears travel along drainages, and wildlife would routinely get into the dumpsters and spread trash everywhere.
“The dumpsters were just there on the side of the road,” Harvey said. “The bears and wildlife just spread trash all over the place.”
It also was an eyesore.
“It looked kind of trashy — no pun intended,” Harvey said.
The dumpsters also were routinely being used by people who did not live in the townhomes.
“We were paying for a lot of people to recycle and throw out their trash,” Harvey said.
Three years ago, some owners suggested something be done.
They began putting money away, and a light snow year during the 2014-15 season meant they did not spend as much as expected on snowplowing.
This fall, Rob Van Deren, with Colorado Home Solutions, began construction on what Harvey refers to as the “Garbage Mahal.”
“We did it right,” Harvey said.
A concrete slab was poured, electricity was run and the structure — designed by Steamboat Engineering & Architectural Design — began to take shape.
The structure features two garage bays for recycling and trash. There is also room for storage, and Harvey said they are working on a plan with Twin Enviro to haul away compostable materials in the future.
“I think that will make us the most green HOA in town,” Harvey said.
Residents punch in a code to open the garage doors.
“It was a sizable investment, but it was definitely something that the homeowners wanted,” Harvey said.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer Andrea Sponseller said the project is one of several that serve as examples of residents and businesses doing something to address the problem of bears getting into trash.
“It shows a lot of initiative, and it’s great to see these dumpster buildings going up in the community,” she said.
The Selbe Apartments used to endure regular bear problems, but those were eliminated after a trash enclosure was built. The Ranch at Steamboat installed bear-proof trash cans outside all their buildings.
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