Gray swap shop reopens under new rules

The Gray Swap Shop is opening again after being closed for months. 

GRAY — The Gray Swap Shop is opening back up at the town’s recycling center after being shuttered for several months.

The shop, also known as the “Take it or Leave it Center,” provides a place where residents can drop off unwanted but still usable items for other residents.

Town Manager Deborah Cabana said Wednesday the plan is to reopen the shop on Feb. 1.

She said keeping the shop open “does have a lot of benefits” for residents and the town’s recycling committee “has really worked hard” in an effort to set new swap shop policies and get it re-opened.

Lacy Antonson and several other members of the recycling committee were at the center Saturday, Jan. 27 to hand out information about new swap shop rules and other recycling updates.

Antonson said most residents she spoke with “were really happy – glad to hear that it was reopening.”

The swap shop was initially closed in fall 2017, and at the time Cabana and Recycling and Solid Waste Director Randy Cookson both likened some behavior there to the shopping chaos seen the day after Thanksgiving.

Cabana said this week that some complaints about the shop alleged that some volunteers there “were fighting among themselves” and “some of it got out of hand.”

She stressed there were no rules about swap shop volunteers previously, making those volunteers “self-appointed” and adding to some of the conflict.

“The town is also taking some responsibility,” Cabana said.

In response, the recycling committee developed new policies for the shop, including stipulations about who can volunteer there.

The new rules specify what items can and can’t be left, and requires any volunteers to submit a written application and submit to a background check.

Volunteers will be under Cookson’s direct supervision.

Sandy Carder, the Town Council liaison to the recycling committee, said the committee’s process “worked the way it was supposed to” in terms of identifying and working to address issues at the swap shop.

Cabana said four volunteers have been approved for the shop and will wear name tags when working there. She also said volunteers will not be allowed to take items from the swap shop while on duty.

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

The Gray Swap Shop is opening again after being closed for months.