2016-08-24 / Features

Constantinides Allocates Over $200K For Cleaning


Council Member Constantinides announced he is allocating over $200,000 toward cleaning services in Astoria. He was joined by Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE) Executive Director Jim Martin, Queens Economic Development Coalition (QEDC) Deputy Director Ricardi Calixte and Central Astoria Local Development Coalition (CALDC) Executive Director of Marie Torniali. Council Member Constantinides announced he is allocating over $200,000 toward cleaning services in Astoria. He was joined by Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE) Executive Director Jim Martin, Queens Economic Development Coalition (QEDC) Deputy Director Ricardi Calixte and Central Astoria Local Development Coalition (CALDC) Executive Director of Marie Torniali. City Council Member Costa Constantinides announced on August 19 his Fiscal Year ‘17 budget allocation of over $200,000 toward cleaning services in Astoria. Several groups will provide cleaning, weeding, and graffiti-removal services. The funding comes from Constantinides’ discretionary budget and the Council’s NYC Clean Up initiative.

Keeping the neighborhood clean has been a priority for Constantinides since 2014. Litter and graffiti impact sidewalk accessibility, quality of life, and shopping habits. He has previously invested in sidewalk cleaning and graffiti removal services. These investments were extended and expanded in FY ‘17.

As part of a widened effort to keep Astoria clean, Constantinides will allocate $10,000 as part of the NYC Clean Up Initiative to the Department of Sanitation for additional pickups of corner litter baskets. They will provide a second Saturday pick-up on Steinway Street from 30th Avenue to Astoria Boulevard, and on 31st Street between 23rd Avenue and Ditmars Boulevard. The additional pick-up will help keep the corners free of trash and help prevent flyaway litter on the sidewalks.

Continuing his investment in sidewalk cleaning services, Constantinides will designate almost $180,000 from both his member discretionary budget and the NYC Clean Up initiative to The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE) to sweep sidewalks and maintain corner litter baskets. The funding goes toward expanding sidewalk cleaning services on 23rd Avenue and 31st Street to 7 days per week. The Ditmars Boulevard route was expanded to reach between 29th Street and Steinway Street.

The allocation will also extend sidewalk cleaning services on 30th Avenue, Newtown Road, Steinway Street, and Shore Boulevard. ACE will continue to sweep the sidewalks and curb extensions on 21st Street and landscape sidewalks and weed patches along Hoyt Avenue North.

Constantinides will designate funding for graffiti removal to improve neighborhood cleanliness. Over $21,000 will be allocated to Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) for on-demand graffiti removal services throughout the district and $37,500 to Central Astoria Local Development Coalition (CALDC), part of which will be used for the existing graffiti cleanup campaign run by the group.

Constantinides said, “Continuing to keep our city clean was an important part of this year’s budget. I am proud to have made it a priority again by investing over $200,000 in order to keep our neighborhood litter-free. Our expanded services will help improve quality of life for residents, visitors, and small business owners. I thank all our partners for their continued work.”

“The Department of Sanitation is pleased to work with Council Member Constantinides to improve the cleanliness of Astoria,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “We appreciate how Council Member Constantinides supports Sanitation in our efforts to keep City streets and sidewalks clean and safe. The Department has found that partnerships are an essential tool in accomplishing goals. Elected officials, City residents, and Sanitation can work together to make our neighborhoods a source of pride to the people who live and work there.”

“For nearly 25 years, ACE has been helping New Yorkers with employment barriers get back into the workforce and on a path to self-sufficiency. With this allocation, Councilman Constantinides is helping ACE put New Yorkers back to work, while at the same time providing essential street cleaning services to the beautiful Borough of Queens. We are extremely proud to join in the effort to keep this district clean for residents and businesses to enjoy. We consider it an honor and a privilege to be invited back to this community!” said Jim Martin, Executive Director of ACE.

“QEDC is happy to continue working with City Council Member Costa Constantinides in battling unsightly graffiti in the district and helping make the neighborhood more appealing for residents, shoppers and businesses,” said Ricardi Calixte, Deputy Director of QEDC.

“The cleaning and graffiti removal programs funded by Council Member Constantinides make a noticeable difference in the landscape of our business districts and Astoria as a whole. Trash and graffiti are a blight on a neighborhood suggesting neglect and indifference; these programs send a clear message that we take pride in our neighborhood by preserving a pleasing environment in which to live, work and do business,” said Marie Torniali, Executive Director of CALDC.

The Council’s NYC Clean Up initiative allocates funds to each council district for cleaner buildings, sidewalks, and streets. The initiative funding will be voted on by the Council in September. Constantinides’ discretionary expense budget was included in the FY ‘17 budget passed by the Council in June.

Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria, along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as Chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on six additional committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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