The Council of the City of New York
Office of Council Member Costa Constantinides
For Immediate Release
October 2, 2015
Contact: Shachar Sharon
Council Member Constantinides Allocates Over $200,000 to Cleaning Services in Astoria
Expanded Service Routes Include Shore Boulevard & Hoyt Avenue
Astoria, N.Y. – City Council Member Costa Constantinides (Astoria) today announced his FY ‘16 budget allocation of over $200,000 to 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 and Parks Equity initiatives.
The Council’s NYC Clean Up initiative allocates funds to each council district for cleaner buildings, sidewalks, and streets. The Council’s Parks Equity Initiative supports community services at neighborhood parks. Litter and graffiti impacts residents’ sidewalk accessibility, quality of life, and shopping habits.
For Fiscal Year ‘15-’16, Constantinides allocated $164,000 from both his member discretionary budget and the NYC Clean Up initiative to The Doe Fund for sidewalk sweeping and corner can cleanup services. The funding continued the organization’s cleaning services on Steinway Street, 30th Avenue, Ditmars Boulevard, 23rd Avenue, 31st Street, and Newtown Road. The Doe Fund’s “Men In Blue” will expand their cleaning routes to 21st Street, including the new curb extensions, as part of the 21st Street Traffic Safety Improvements announced in June.
Constantinides made cleanliness along the streets surrounding, leading up to, and inside Astoria Park a priority. The Doe Fund will now also sweep sidewalks and clear out trash cans on Shore Boulevard. Nearly $5,000 was allocated to landscaping sidewalks and weed patches along Hoyt Avenue North by The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE) during September-October 2015 and April-June 2016. Within Astoria Park, $18,000 was allocated for an additional Parks Department maintenance staffer from April-June 2016 as part of the Parks Equity Initiative.
Graffiti removal by the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) and Central Astoria Local Development Coalition (CALDC) will also improve the neighborhood’s cleanliness. Constantinides designated over $21,000 to graffiti removal services by the QEDC and $37,500 to CALDC, part of which will be used for the existing graffiti cleanup campaign run by the group.
“Our continued efforts to support residents and small businesses that are experiencing increased litter will have intense impacts on quality of life, both for members of our community and visitors to our neighborhoods.” said Constantinides. “Since we began our Keep Astoria Clean campaign in 2014, our communities have seen a reduction in litter and improved overall street cleanliness. I look forward to seeing this continue as we move forward with an expansion of these services to Shore Boulevard, Hoyt Avenue and Astoria Park. I thank all of my partners for their continued dedication to making the 22nd Council District a cleaner and better place to live and work.”
Constantinides was joined by representatives from The Doe Fund, ACE, CALDC, QEDC, and Astoria Park Alliance.
“On behalf of the business districts in Astoria, we commend Council Member Constantinides for continued funding for graffiti removal. Graffiti is a blight on our community; its removal is crucial to maintaining a pleasing environment in which to do business, shop, and live,” said Marie Torniali, Executive Director of Central Astoria LDC.
“For more than 20 years, ACE has been helping New Yorkers with employment barriers get back into the workforce and on a path to self-sufficiency. With his CleanUp Initiative allocation, Council Member Constantinides is helping ACE put New Yorkers back to work! We are very proud to join in the effort to keep Astoria beautiful,” said Jim Martin, Executive Director of ACE.
“All of us at The Doe Fund are honored to service the streets and sidewalks of District 22, one of New York City’s most vibrant and diverse communities. By choosing the “men in blue” from Ready, Willing & Able, Councilmember Constantinides is doing much more than just improving street cleanliness and safety for our neighbors in Astoria; he’s creating jobs for people who need them most and offering a life-changing opportunity to the men in our program and their families. We’re so grateful for his partnership,” said George T. McDonald, Founder and President of The Doe Fund.
“Astoria Park Alliance commends Council member Costa Constantinides for his tireless efforts to support Astoria Park and it’s users. We are also grateful to the volunteers and responsible park users who love Astoria Park enough to help keep it clean. We call on everyone to join these efforts to make Astoria Park the very best that it can be,” said Martha Lopez-Gilpin, Chair of the Astoria Park Alliance.
“At QEDC, we know that graffiti is a scourge that leads to disinvestment in a community and stunts economic growth,” stated QEDC Deputy Director Ricardi Calixte. “Clearly, Council Member Costa Constantinides understands this, and we are happy to play a role in his efforts to enhance streetscapes in the district.”
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 the chair 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.