Councilman Costa Constantinides last week announced over $250,000 for an expansion of cleaning services in Astoria.
Several groups, including the Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE), the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) and the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition (CALDC), will all receive funds to provide cleaning and graffiti-removal services throughout the area.
“Clean, litter-free and graffiti-free streets help encourage residents and visitors to spend more time outdoors and enjoy our commercial corridors,” Constantinides said.
The councilman said after hearing concerns over the past year from residents on Broadway about litter on the sidewalks and overflowing waste baskets, he decided to include the corridor in the neighborhood's cleaning services.
ACE will receive $210,000 to clean sidewalks along 30th Avenue, Newtown Road, 23rd Avenue, Ditmars Boulevard, 31st Street, Steinway Street, 21st Street, Shore Boulevard and Hoyt Avenue North. They will also maintain litter baskets.
Travis Tinney, director of development of ACE and a local resident, said keeping streets clean not only improves the quality of life for residents but also creates jobs.
“These funds are giving employment opportunities to men and women who have faced extreme barriers in the past,” he said.
DSNY will use $15,000 to install six high-end litter baskets on Broadway to prevent overflowing by early next year. The funding includes second Saturday pickups on Steinway Street and 31st Street.
QEDC got over $20,000 for on-demand graffiti removal services, while CALDC received $37,500 for its existing graffiti cleanup campaign.
“We see compliments not only from business owners but also from the shoppers on that district,” said CALDC executive director Marie Torniali.
Constantinides encouraged residents to do their part as well.
“We need everyone on the team to make sure that Astoria stays clean,” he said.