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Private entity progresses in ridding Lubbock of hazard, eyesore on Interstate 27

Updated: Mar. 5, 2021 at 5:55 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Nearly two years after local government entities pleaded for help from the State of Texas to clean up hundreds of acres of abandoned land filled with garbage along north I-27, it’s almost as if it never existed. That’s thanks to Environmental Recovery LLC, which has spent that time clearing the land across from the Lubbock airport.

“The front side is where we get most of the comments from people that are passing by on the Interstate and saying, ‘Man, you’ve done a good job on that,’” Casey Johnson said. “It’s been a lot of work.”

Johnson and Kyle Zahn, owner of C&D Waste and Zahn Paving, are Environmental Recovery LLC. In 2019 they purchased in a tax sale the nearly 200 acres, which stretch far west of I-27 and were once covered in mounds of trash and other material. Some of it was charred from multiple fires.

“[We’ve come across] everything from just plastic to toilets, tires, 400,000 cubic yards of shingles, lots of metal,” Johnson said. “We’ve tried to recycle everything back into this job and we’ve done a pretty good job on that so far.”

Multiple people work full-time in an effort to clear the land, which is expected to take at least another year. However, it’s already produced multiple ideas for its future development.

“You know we’d like to see a winding river and we want to incorporate recycled materials to form that river,” Johnson said. “Maybe it could be a place for people to take their animals, you know, just go on walks, an outdoor venue, things like that.”

With the cost of cleaning up the land continuing to rise, the hope is the local or state government could assist in some way.

“They’re the ones that were taking the brunt of all the complaints to begin with, that they were letting this go on being an eyesore coming into the city of Lubbock,” Johnson said. “We’re ready to do it on our own, also. But, anytime you can get help, especially financial, then you’re not gonna turn that down.”

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