By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The streets of Bensonhurst will get a much-needed makeover on Saturday, thanks to volunteers taking part in a big community cleanup organized by Assemblyman Bill Colton.
Colton is asking residents to volunteer for the Nov. 9 cleanup. All you have to do is show up at his district office at 155 Kings Highway (between West 12th and West 13th streets) at 10 a.m. and be ready to get to work.
The area to be cleaned includes Bay Parkway between 65th and 72nd streets, Avenue U between McDonald and Stillwell avenues, and the streets surrounding Seth Low Park (Bay Parkway and 75th Street).
The Department of Sanitation and Home Depot will supply the tools for the clean-up effort, including brooms, dust pans, plastic trash bags, and gloves. Student volunteers will be credited with community service hours.
The volunteers who have signed up to work on Saturday include: members of District 9 High School Key Club, students from New Utrecht High School, members from Our Lady of Grace Teen Group, students from Midwood High School’s Key Club, students from Brooklyn Technical High School’s Red Cross Club and Key Club, students from Edward R. Murrow’s Key Club, members from Bensonhurst Cluster Youth Ministry, students from Madison High School’s Key Club, members from Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School’s Key Club, John Dewey High School's Key Club and members from the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn.
When their work is done, participants will be treated with free refreshments, Colton said.
While most of the participants will be busy sweeping away the litter that’s clogging the sidewalks and streets, others will be distributing flyers to residents with information on the Dept. of Sanitation’s regulations on trash disposal.
“Not only are we physically cleaning up our streets and parks, but we are spreading awareness about the importance of keeping our neighborhood clean. We pass out flyers containing sanitation rules and guidelines to residents and businesses,” Colton said. “We want to motivate others to do their part in making sure our community is a clean place to live, work, shop, and play.”
Colton (D-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) has been sponsoring similar cleanups in other parts of his assembly district since 2011 under an initiative he calls “Speak Up & Clean Up.” Saturday's sweep will be the 11th time Colon has held a community cleanup.
Priscilla Consolo, a Bensonhurst community activist, co-founded “Speak Up & Clean Up” with Colton. “When we started this campaign over two years ago, we never would have imagined that it would have grown like it has. This is already our 11th clean up event, and our local youth have consistently volunteered to help clean up the neighborhood,” she said.
“They should serve as an example for our entire community,” Consolo said.
Mark Treyger, a Democrat who won election to the City Council seat in the 47th District (Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) on Tuesday, has assisted in previous Colton cleanups and said the results are more than just cosmetic.
“A clean neighborhood is a win-win situation for everyone,” Treyger said. “Businesses and residents benefit, and our young people are learning the valuable lesson of making a positive difference in their community. There is no greater civics lesson for our young people.”