Funds to be spent on litter basket pickups, street sweepers
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The shopping strips in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst are going to be a lot cleaner now that the city is pumping in nearly $200,000 in additional funding for sanitation services, according to Councilmember Vincent Gentile.
Gentile announced on Tuesday that he had secured the necessary funds to increase the number of days that Department of Sanitation (DOS) workers empty litter baskets on Third, 13th and 18th Avenues from three days a week to four days a week.
The litter basket pickups will take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. And the DOS workers will be removing the trash from the baskets twice a day on those days, Gentile said.
In addition, Gentile has secured the services of Wildcat Services Corporation, a nonprofit group that provides jobs for unemployed residents, to sweep litter off the commercial streets.
The new cleanup effort is piggybacking on the City Council’s NYC Cleanup effort, which began in 2014. Under the program, each council district received funding for cleanups. The council members had the discretion to decide exactly how the funds would be spent in their communities.
This year, the program was expanded.
Gentile is also using $90,000 from his discretionary fund to ensure cleaner shopping strips.
“That brings us up another notch,” Gentile said at a press conference outside The Art Room at 8710 Third Ave. “We’re really, really cooking.”
The four-days-a-week trash receptacle collections are “a major, major plus,” Gentile said.
Bruno Iciano, a community affairs representative for DOS, said that the agency has also worked with Gentile on educational efforts in local elementary schools to teach youngsters not to throw litter on the street.
Cleaner streets are more inviting to shoppers, the councilmember said.
Leigh Holliday Brannan, owner of The Art Room, agreed. “We take a lot of pride in being here and providing a safe, clean environment for our families,” she said.
Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10 (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights) called the stores lining commercial streets like Third Avenue “the lifeblood of our community.”
Richard Russo, senior vice president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, predicted that the cleaner streets of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst “will have a ripple effect that will serve all of Brooklyn as well.”
Mario La Rosa, director of operations for Wildcat, said his workers are already on the job sweeping the sidewalks. “It complements the work other businesses are doing,” he said, adding that the firm also removes graffiti and shovels snow.
Carlo Lauricella, owner of C&L Fine Gifts at 8122 18th Ave., said he has noticed that the sidewalks are looking better. “Eighteenth Avenue has been a lot cleaner. It’s something we never had before,” he said.