Macon County board members are set to decide next month whether to build a $7.5 million campus with drive-through recycling, county environmental offices, a compost center, solar farm and community gardens on the city’s west side.

Plans for the 109-acre campus in the 1100 block of North Wyckles Road are scheduled for a Feb. 14 vote, with several board committees set to consider the proposal before it goes before the full board. The timeline was provided Tuesday during a special board meeting to review the proposal in detail and hear from residents who either support or oppose the project.

Macon County Environmental Management Director Laurie Rasmus said members of her department believes the campus can be self-sustaining within six years. She described a number of benefits of the project, noting that a permanent recycling site would allow the county to shift away from recycling events, such as paint collection days. Instead, residents and businesses would be able to take advantage of regular hours to drop off recyclables, such as electronics, and bulk items, like couches and other furniture. “We wish to make recycling services more accessible to residents by having a permanent site with regular hours,” Rasmus said.

Details of the project were first announced last year, with the previously Democratic-majority board voting last October to re-zone the site to allow its construction. However, the board never voted on the plan itself, and its future has become uncertain since Republicans took a 12-9 advantage on the board after the November election.

County officials initially said the project would cost $4.5 million to build, with philanthropist Howard Buffett providing $1.2 million to buy the land. Rasmus previously said the increase in the estimate was driven by several factors, including steps needed to comply with various regulatory requirements.

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