Crowd turns out for city's first tire, sign buyback

$41,255 paid out for 23,000 tires, 6,000 signs turned in Saturday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city's first ever tire and sign buyback event was a big success. Thousands of tires and  signs were collected as a way to keep the streets of Jacksonville cleaner.

The event was approved by the Jacksonville City Council as a way to cut down on blight in parts of the city. 

Dozens of cars were lined up at Everbank Field more than an hour before the event began, and within an hour, the line stretched all the way around the stadium. The first person in line showed up at 4:30 a.m to beat the rush.

"It's crowded. I wanted to be first so that I could get in and get through to let somebody else get through here," said Willie Mitchell, who dropped off 21 tires.

 "It tells you that we have a lot of help out here. I'm very happy that the citizens of Jacksonville decided to step in and help us keep the city clean," said Mayor Alvin Brown.

Each person was eligible for $2 per tire for up to 10 tires and 50 cents per sign for up to 40 signs. Many people came with more than that, dropping them off even though they didn't get paid for it. They say that they were just trying to do their part to keep the city cleaner.

"You see all the debris spread all throughout the streets and makes our city look bad. I lived in Orlando for about five years and that place is kept clean," said Carlice McClendon.

City spokeswoman Debbie Delgado said over 23,000 tires and 6,000 signs were collected and  $41,255 was paid out on Saturday.

The chief of the city's Solid Waste Division told Channel 4  it cost the city nearly $165,000 for disposal of waste on the city right-of-ways last year.  

Saturday's event was aimed at cutting that cost by having less trash on the streets. People who went to the event agree.

"You can eliminate that cost by doing what you are doing today and giving people the incentive to keep the city clean," said McClendon.

"Don't trash Jacksonville. Let's keep Jacksonville beautiful. So it takes everyone doing their part to keep the city clean. We want to make sure taxpayers get a return on their investment," said  Brown.

The tires collected will be sent to Lakeland, where they will be ground up and burned for a waste-to-energy plant. The city will also get a recycling credit with the Department of Environmental Protection.