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Costa ups Doe Fund deal for more cleaners in Astoria

By Bill Parry

The streets of Astoria’s business districts will be cleaner and one residential street will be safer.

City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) announced an expanded relationship with the Doe Fund to keep more sidewalks and corner trash cans litter-free.

“Working to keep Astoria clean has been a top priority for us,” Constantinides said. “Since initially bringing the Doe Fund to Astoria in April and continuing our Keep Astoria Clean awareness campaign, we have engaged the neighborhood and the change in cleanliness has been noticeable.”

The councilman allocated $130,000 in discretionary funding from the Council to bring in more street cleaners employed through the nonprofit Doe Fund, which provides jobs and other services to formerly homeless or incarcerated people.

Since April, the Men in Blue have been maintaining 30th Avenue, Broadway and 31st Street. Now the Doe Fund workers will add Steinway Street, Newtown Road, Ditmars Boulevard and 23rd Avenue.

The expansion is welcome news for Marie Torniali, executive director of the Steinway Business Partnership.

“This service has made a notable difference in the business district,” she said. “We’re getting phone calls from people who can’t believe how beautiful Broadway is. It helps our shoppers have a more pleasant experience.”

Doe Fund founder George McDonald, who attended the announcement, , “It’s important to remember that every one of the Men in Blue from the Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing & Able program was recently homeless. They’re taking the first steps towards a new life by cleaning the streets.”

The Ready, Willing & Able program provides the paid transitional work as a first step to self-sufficiency, permanent employment, apartments of their own and their sobriety.

“We get clean streets and they get jobs — it’s a win-win,” Constantinides said.

Meanwhile, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who represents part of Astoria, celebrated the installation of a speed bump on 47th Street between Broadway and 34th Avenue.

Before the residents of 47th Street reached out to Van Bramer’s office, they were plagued by speeding along the residential street.

Van Bramer worked with the city Department of Transportation to expedite the installation of the speed bump in an effort to reduce speeding and protect residents.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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