Aug. 29, 2014 By Michael Florio
A cleaning crew has been hired to pick up trash on a commercial street that is on the border of Dutch Kills and Astoria.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announced Thursday that two street cleaners started work Wednesday to sweep the streets and empty trash on 36th Avenue, between 27th Street to 36th Street.
The workers will be on site two days a week from 9 am until 5 pm.
The councilman has allocated $33,000 to The Doe Fund to clean 36th Avenue. The Doe Fund is a non-profit group that hires former inmates and homeless people who are tasked with the job of keeping the streets clean.
“They will clean up the heart of Dutch Kills once and for all,” Van Bramer said. “It has been very challenging to keep this location clean… that’s why I decided to take 36th Ave on.”
Van Bramer said that he has taken part in a number of community cleanups on 36th Avenue and that he had noticed the commercial strip needed more than the standard city services.
“We want business to thrive, people to shop and residents to feel good about their neighborhood,” Van Bramer said.
The expansion into Dutch Kills/Astoria represents Van Bramer’s push to clean a greater number of streets in the district he represents.
Two years ago he recruited the Doe Fund to clean up a large section of Woodside. Last year he brought the program to cover an area in Hunters Point—an area that he expanded this year.
This year, Van Bramer has allocated $133,000 to the Doe Fund toward maintaining the cleanliness of Woodside, Hunters Point and Astoria/Dutch Kills.
Meanwhile, the expansion into Dutch Kills dovetails with Councilman Costa Constantinides’ introduction of the Doe Fund into central Astoria and Ditmars earlier this year.
Doe Fund workers start off earning minimum wage cleaning up the streets but often leave the program for other jobs.
“This is not where they the workers finish up, it’s where they start,” said George McDonald, founder of The Doe Fund.