Clean streets initiative extended in southeast Queens

Photo Courtesy of Councilman Ruben Wills

A successful street-cleaning program in southeast Queens has been extended through May of 2015, officials said.

Commercial corridors in the neighborhoods have long been eyesores due to the accumulation of litter and trash.

But since the Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods, Strong Communities (CSS) initiative started in April, this has changed.

“The restoration and revitalization of our community depends on our collective efforts to keep our streets clean and promote safe neighborhoods by having a sense of pride and respect for our area,” state Sen. James Sanders Jr. said. “Through the Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods, Strong Communities initiative, we have an opportunity to improve our community and ensure our children grow up in a safe and clean environment.”

The CSS program is a citywide initiative to hammer down on illegal dumpers. It increased fines for those people who illegally dump their garbage and others who use the city garbage cans for residential and commercial trash.

Along with these initiatives, commercial corridors throughout Richmond Hill and other neighborhoods in Queens had periodic clean-ups from the nonprofit organization Wildcat.

The clean-up by Wildcat, in connection with the DNSY, became a popular component of the initiative, according to Councilman Ruben Wills, and the city has expanded the organization’s role and extended its contract.

With the expansion, Wildcat will now clean commercial corridors on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The organization will also help with snow and leaf removal, as well as removing garbage and other debris from vacant lots and abandoned homes.

Wildcat is a nonprofit organization that provides jobs for underemployed or formerly incarcerated residents of the city.

Wills commended them for the work they have done throughout his district and is looking forward to the continued partnership, but said it is not only on the organization to keep the streets of the neighborhood clean.

“[Wildcat] alone cannot shoulder the load of preserving the cleanliness of our neighborhoods,” Wills noted. “That responsibility also lies with us as citizens, and we all must do our share.”


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