It's tire roundup time in Lexington.
All this week, old tires can be dropped off at the Old Frankfort Pike Driver Training Facility, 1631 Old Frankfort Pike. Residents also may arrange to have tires picked up.
Mayor Jim Newberry kicked off the week with a Tuesday morning news conference behind Faith Lutheran Church Childcare Center on Tates Creek Road.
As he spoke, a group of 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds were busy in a playground that last week got a new surface of crumb rubber that had been made from old tires and dyed blue.
Sarah Vanover, the center director, said the children like the soft surface.
"Some of them have been falling off the monkey bars just so they can bounce when they hit the ground," she said.
Recycled tires also can be used for walking paths, garden mulch and fuel, the mayor said. Some of the tires collected in Lexington this week will be burned in state-of-the-art facilities in Mississippi, the city said. Others will be recycled into landscaping material, and the steel bands will be recycled into new metal projects.
The tire roundup is being run by the Lexington and Kentucky divisions of waste management.
Kentuckians go through 4 million tires a year, so recycling them is important, Newberry said.
"It's amazing how many times you run into old tires cluttering up the landscape," he said.
They not only are unsightly but also hold water that provides an excellent breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Usually, Fayette County residents may recycle up to four tires a year without charge, and tires must be removed from the rim or wheel.
For the roundup, more tires will be accepted and they can be on rims or wheels, and people who live in neighboring counties may bring tires.
Vanover applied for a grant to get the crumb rubber for the Faith Lutheran playground. The cost was $11,000, with the state paying 75 percent. The rest was paid by donations from Smucker's, National Office Supply and several families, she said.
Although the cost was high compared to more traditional organic mulch, the 28,000 pounds of crumb rubber is safer and is expected to last 15 to 20 years, Vanover said.