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Constantinides hires dedicated crew to clean Astoria’s streets

April 4, 2014 By Michael Florio

Astoria’s elected officials are trying to get rid of the trash.

Councilman Costa Constantinides announced Friday that he has enlisted a crew of Doe Fund workers to sweep the streets and empty the trash.

Doe Fund workers will be in the neighborhood seven days a week, seven hours per day.

The workers have been assigned specific districts, which include: 30th Avenue (from Athens Square Park to Steinway Street); Broadway (31st Street to Steinway Street); and 31st Street (Ditmars Blvd to 23rd Ave.)

The Doe Fund is a non-profit organization that provides formerly homeless and incarcerated people with jobs.

“The Doe Fund is going to make our streets cleaner and much easier to navigate,” Constantinides said at a press conference at 31st Street and Ditmars Blvd this morning.  He said that too many residents have to step over litter and too many business owners have to clean it up.

Constantinides has allocated $40,000 to hire the Doe Fund workers, which will take the program through June 30. He plans to keep the program going in fiscal year 2014/2015.

“This is the first step in keeping our neighborhood clean,” Constantinides said.

Workers form the Doe Fund officially began cleaning the streets on Tuesday.

“The litter-free sidewalks will make our community a more hospitable place,” said Lucille Hartmann, District Manager of Community Board 1.

The workers who are cleaning the street appeared enthused, going as far as chanting Constantinides’ name during the announcement.

“We provide an opportunity for a second chance,” said George McDonald, founder of the Doe Fund. “I predict that some of the people sweeping the streets will be working in the businesses here.”

Constantinides, along with State Sen. Mike Gianaris and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, has also been calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Sanitation Commissioner for additional trash pickups. Currently, the department empties the garbage cans six days per week (Monday through Saturday).

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Dorothy Morehead

Definitely a win-win situation. Public education, enforcement of the anti-littering laws and more frequent emptying of litter baskets would also help. One of the best ads I have ever seen was of a mayor (not NYC) doing a mock jump shot of paper into a litter basket. Maybe a popular NY Knick could do something like that to get young people to buy into keeping the streets and sidewalks clean.


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