2006-08-09 / Features

Major Graffiti Clean Up Starts Monday In NE Queens

BY JOHN TOSCANO

Starting next Monday, a new chapter in the fight to rid his Northeast

Queens district of graffiti will be

initiated by City Councilmember Tony Avella.

Armed with a $50,000 grant secured by the lawmaker in the new city budget, the graffiti removal firm called City Solve will begin the first phase of the new project by painting over or spray washing existing graffiti on the major mom and pop shopping strips in his district, Avella (D-Bayside) said.

He declared, "Graffiti is a blight in any neighborhood. It is a constant annoyance to residents and a serious quality of life issue. In order to address this problem on a comprehensive district-wide basis, I obtained the $50,000 grant to hire City Solve, a business that specializes in graffiti removal."

City Solve will address the problem wherever it exists in College Point, Malba, Whitestone, Clearview, Bayside, Bay Terrace, North Flushing, Auburndale, Douglaston and Little Neck, all of which make up Avella's council district.

Beside painting over or washing away any graffiti, City Solve will also address other graffiti problems, Avella said. "My program provides this service free of charge to business owners and homeowners," he explained.

City Solve has already surveyed the district and identified graffiti problem locations in advance of Monday's startup, so the firm will hit the ground running along the commercial strips.

City Solve President Bruce Pienkny stated the aim of the new program is to create a graffiti-free district in Northeast Queens. He explained, "In order to dissuade taggers, you must clean the affected areas and keep them clean-period! Our major efforts will focus on quick response and repeated cleanings of both commercial and residential areas."

Residents of the 19th council district can submit graffiti locations that need attention by calling Avella's district office at 718-747-2137.

Avella has enlisted the support of many community and civic organizations in the area, some of which were present when he launched the program at a recent press conference.

Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Alliance, stated: "We wholeheartedly support Councilmember Avella's initiative and are excited to expand our antigraffiti program not only in Bay Terrace but all of Northeast Queens."

Bonnie Honya, Clearview Assistance Program president, noted, "Whitestone is a beautiful neighborhood and we would like to keep it that way. Through Councilman Avella's partnership with City Solve, we are excited about ending this blight on the community once and for all."

North Shore Anti-Graffiti Volunteers President John Frank declared, "This is an unprecedented effort that will have a major impact on stopping graffiti vandalism."

Bob Nobile, president of the Little Neck Pines Civic Association suggested that a graffiti perpetrator should have to pay a fine that is then contributed to a graffiti removal effort such as the City Solve program.

Sabrina Cardinale, president of the College Point Civic and Taxpayers Association, called for a 100 percent effort from everyone in the community and Judy Limpert, president of the Bayside Business Association, thanked Avella for the new program and said it would help to preserve the strong business community and natural beauty of Bayside.

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