Rockaway councilwoman plans cleanups of commercial corridors

Ariola cleanup
Councilwoman Joann Ariola is planning cleanups on commercial corridors in the Rockways to help small business owners. (Courtesy of Ariola’s office)

Reinforcing her commitment to business owners on the Rockaway peninsula, Councilwoman Joann Ariola is planning to sponsor several cleanup events and team up with local merchants to host events and increase commerce. Working with the Rockaway Beach Civic Association and shopkeepers from both Beach 116th Street and Beach 219th Street, Ariola is assisting small business owners in creating merchant associations in some of the area’s most important commercial corridors.

“These new merchant groups will help to improve commerce and beautify these vital corridors for years to come,” Ariola said. “With these in place, Rockaway’s business people will be able to work together to host events and pool money for important projects that will make their streets better, more attractive destinations for both residents and visitors alike.”

She also pledged to sponsor several cleanups throughout Rockaway, which will further the mission of creating better, more aesthetically pleasing areas for shoppers to enjoy. Ariola will also partner with the Queens Chamber of Commerce on a Cookies with Santa event on Nov. 22 on Beach 116th Street from 4 to 7 p.m. She said the event will feature an early visit from Santa Claus and plenty of cookies, cocoa and face painting for the kids.

“The beautification and cleanliness of our borough and beachfront areas have always been a priority for the chamber and ties directly to the willingness of consumers to do their shopping in our great city,” Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech said. “We commend Council member Ariola on her commitment to partnering with us to ensure increased commerce along Beach 116th and Beach 129th as it is an important part of our city’s economic revival overall.”

Ariola also had high praise for Mayor Eric Adams who launched a new $14.5 million citywide initiative to pick up trash on streets and parks. His plan includes the addition of 200 DSNY workers to support cleanup efforts across the five boroughs, an additional $1.5 million toward rat mitigation and increased enforcement against illegal dumping with 200 new surveillance cameras.

Mayor Eric Dams announced his new “Get Stuff Clean” initiative, which includes $14.5 million in new funding for clean streets and parks. (Courtesy of the mayor’s office)

“For much too long, portions of this city have been neglected and allowed to become inundated with trash and debris,” Ariola said. “With this latest initiative, the mayor, DSNY, DOT and NYC Parks are finally rectifying those years of neglect, and are making a considerable investment toward improving the quality of life for New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs. From the much-needed rat reduction measures to the enhanced illegal dumping enforcement and beyond, the ‘Get Stuff Clean’ initiative will make New York City a better, brighter and cleaner place to live for us all.”

The mayor’s new initiative was endorsed by elected officials from across Queens.

“For decades, my constituents have asked the city to address the illegal dumping hotspots in my district. Now we have an administration that is committed to finally cleaning out these ‘No Man’s Lands’ and cracking down on the dumpers,” Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar said. “The mayor and commissioner are also increasing waste collection and rodent control at our most visited sites, so that tourists can return to our city without piles of trash being their first impression.”

Councilman James Gennaro said the new program is a much-needed investment that will address neglected areas across the city.

“Combined with recently passed rat mitigation bills, I am confident New Yorkers will see a noticeable improvement in quality of life across the five boroughs,” he said.

Councilman Robert Holden said keeping the streets safe and clean is paramount to a functioning city.

“I recently allocated nearly $400,000 to cleaning my district’s main thoroughfares, increasing litter basket collection, removing graffiti and illegal dumping, and for surveillance cameras to address illegal dumping,” Holden said. “I thank Mayor Adams and his administration for taking steps to improve the quality of life in this city and look forward to working together to clean up New York.”

Back in Rockaway, Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers said New Yorkers deserve clean public space.

“For several fiscal years, council members have had to use discretionary funds to monitor dumping,” she said. “Our parks and streets are indispensable community assets, and the city should strive to keep these spaces free of waste and rats. I applaud the administration’s commitment to clean parks and streets and look forward to the administration’s continued investment in improving our public space.”