June 16, 2016 Staff Report
With the adoption of the City’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget at the City Council Tuesday comes tens of thousands in funding for cleaning up Astoria’s streets and graffiti, upgrading parks and other improvements.
The neighborhood will see more than $200,000 for sidewalk sweeping and graffiti removal services, funded through the $7.8 million citywide NYC Clean Up Initiative as well as discretionary funds from Council Member Costa Constantinides.
The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE) will sweep sidewalks and clear weed patches on major thoroughfares throughout the district. Funding was also allocated for graffiti cleanup with the Queens Economic Development Corporation throughout the district.
“We have again made keeping our neighborhood clean a priority, which will continue to keep Astoria appealing to both residents and visitors,” Constantinides said.
A designation of $70,000 was also made for a tractor to clear snow and leaves from parks throughout this district.
Funding will also go to upgrades at both Astoria Park and Bulova Moser Park.
Constantinides allocated more than $1 million for upgrades at Charybdis Playground inside Astoria Park.
Astoria Park and Bulova Moser Park (25 Avenue between 76 Street and 77 Street) also received upgrades through Participatory Budgeting, which allows residents to vote on how capital dollars are spent; $750,00 will go to new and upgraded water fountains and gaming tables in Astoria Park, and $400,000 will go towards repairing the handball courts and upgrading adult fitness equipment at Bulova.
“Our investments in Astoria Park, the jewel of our neighborhood, will be a visible symbol that shows how much we care about this community,” Constantinides said.
Some of the money set aside for cleaning Astoria’s streets will also go toward Shore Boulevard along Astoria Park, where local park advocates have been calling for more cleanup efforts.
Recently, the Astoria Park Alliance hung up fliers along Shore Boulevard reminding residents to throw their garbage in the trashcans, in an attempt to keep the park and shoreline clean.
Constantinides said he agrees with the importance of keeping this space clean and believes the fliers will send a positive message.
“Keeping our neighborhood clean, especially our shoreline, takes the cooperation of everyone. The signs that Astoria Park Alliance have put up will spread awareness of the need for cleanliness and proper trash disposal,” he said.
“If we treat our waterfront well, we’re treating our parks and green spaces well,” he added. “A clear waterfront will also bring ecological and environmental benefits to the river.”
Funds will also go towards establishing a new farmers market in northern Astoria, to after-school and summer-youth programs and improving science learning spaces in schools.
Constantinides allocated $1.04 million for technology upgrades such as computer labs, smart boards, laptops, and tablets divided equally among the schools in his district.