Aug. 19, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
Councilman Costa Constantinides announced a new budget allocation of over $200,000 to keep Astoria clean this morning.
The budget will allow for increased cleaning, weeding, and graffiti removal throughout the neighborhood, with particular focus on the major business areas.
The announced budget is an extension of Constantinides’ efforts to clean up Astoria, which has been one of his priorities since 2014, and comes from both his own discretionary budget and the City Council’s NYC Clean Up initiative.
“This money is going to go for real quality of life improvements. It’s going to improve our residents’ lives, they won’t have to jump over garbage and litter in the street and have to look at graffiti,” Constantinides said.
The budget will be divided among several groups. The bulk of the budget, $180,000, will go to The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE), which hires homeless people to sweep the sidewalks and empty trashcans.
ACE workers will clean the following locations:
- 31st Street from 23rd Avenue to Ditmars Boulevard: 7 days per week
- 23rd Avenue from 29th Street to 33rd Street: 7 days per week
- Ditmars Boulevard from 29th Street to Steinway Street: 7 days per week
- 30th Avenue from 30th Street to Steinway Street: 5 days per week
- Newtown Road from 30th Avenue to 41st Street: 7 days per week
- Steinway Street from 28th Avenue to Astoria Boulevard: 3 days per week
- 21st Street from 34th Avenue to 29th Avenue : 2 days per week
- Hoyt Avenue North from 31st Street to 19th Street: Once per month
- Shore Boulevard from Astoria Park South to Ditmars Boulevard: 3 days per week
An additional $10,000 will go to the Department of Sanitation to add an extra Saturday pick-up of corner litter baskets on Steinway Street from 30th Avenue to Astoria Boulevard and on 31st Street between 23rd Avenue and Ditmars Boulevard.
“Everyone knows that the Department of Sanitation is tasked with cleaning up the garbage in New York City, but we just can’t do it alone,” said Community Affairs Officer from the Department of Sanitation Iggy Terranova. “We need partnerships like we have with the councilman who care about the neighborhoods they provide service for.”
“The NYC Cleanup Initiative and the spearheads, certainly the councilman, has changed lives in New York City for many men and women, certainly the men who stand behind me today,” said Executive Director of ACE Jim Martin.
Constantinides also allocated over $21,000 to the Queens Economic Development Corporation for on-demand graffiti removal services, and $37,500 to Central Astoria Local Development Coalition, some of which will be used for their already ongoing graffiti cleanup efforts.
“When it comes to graffiti removal, really it’s a rapid response, making sure that if graffiti goes up, you know the vandals revel in people seeing their work, so if we can get it down just as quickly as it goes up, they’re going to realize that this is not a place to do that,” Constantinides said.
The Councilman was joined during his announcement by Terranova, Martin, Deputy Director of the QEDC Ricardi Calixte, Executive Director of CALDC Marie Torniali, and several members of ACE.
“We are passionate about making sure that commercial districts in Queens thrive, and we know that small businesses and these streets are really the heartbeat of the community and we know that in order for these businesses to thrive, they have to be inviting and be clean,” said Calixte.