As part of his ongoing effort to boost the quality of life in the community, Council Member James F. Gennaro spent Friday morning, October 15, revealing a series of clean-up initiatives throughout the district. Gennaro was joined by DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson and community leaders to announce new partnerships with DSNY, the Wildcat Service Corporation, and The Doe Fund. As part of his humanitarian mission, the Council Member allocated a total of $430,000 in this year’s budget cycle for clean-up efforts targeting litter and graffiti – including $185,000 to Wildcat, $150,000 to the Doe Fund, and $95,000 to the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY).

“I am thrilled to partner with DSNY, Wildcat, and The Doe Fund to offer much-needed supplemental sanitation services throughout the district,” Council Member Gennaro said at the Briarwood community mall, located at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 84th Drive. “I am confident that these partnerships will make a visible difference in our communities, and I remain committed to making this district the cleanest it has ever been. I would like to thank all of our stakeholders here today for their hard work to keep our city clean.” As Gennaro spoke, the difference was already noticed, as Wildcat employees were hard at work cleaning up the greenery and seating area of the promenade. “It takes the village to clean the village.”

For many in attendance, it felt like déjà vu back to June 2006 and August 2010, when Gennaro, in his first bid as a Council Member, initiated similar programs to widespread success. Graffiti and debris were sparce in the neighborhood during that era. This announcement fulfills a campaign promise to re-establishing a relationship with The Doe Fund, a nonprofit that employs formerly homeless, formerly drug-addicted, and formerly incarcerated individuals to clean city streets. Gennaro has been long-spoken that Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills should resemble the Main Street of Disneyland. “It is my goal to make sure we don’t have one overflowing litter basket in the 24th District,” said Gennaro. “I hate dirty streets. I can’t stand it.”

Council Member Gennaro’s partnership with DSNY will add sanitation services along Union Turnpike from 164th Street to 188th Street, and Main Street from Grand Central Parkway to Queens Boulevard. There will be two additional service days for street trash pick-up, as well as litter basket and road servicing along these routes. DSNY will also be responsible for maintaining the median along the Union Turnpike route.

The partnership with the Wildcat Service Corporation will regularly target trash-prone areas, including Hillside Avenue – from Sutphin Boulevard to 173rd Street – three times a week year-round; as well as the Grand Central Parkway Service Road – between 188th Street and Utopia Parkway – once every two weeks. Additionally, Wildcat will provide clean-up services for public spaces in his entire district upon request. Notable services include graffiti removal, snow removal, and cutting up/bagging large tree limbs and grass for DSNY to later pick-up.

“Snow removal will be a valued service for elderly and disabled constituents in my district,” Gennaro added. “Our office has a list of seniors who are on a fixed income and are unable to remove their own snow.” The service was also known to shovel out corners of commercial corridors to allow for safe passage. Such was common practice on Main Street a decade ago.

The Council Member’s partnership with The Doe Fund will regularly service trash-prone areas, including the Main Street Business Corridor – more specifically Main Street between Melbourne Avenue and 77th Avenue (twice a week); and Queens Boulevard, from Main Street to Hillside Avenue (twice a week).

Seymour Schwartz, a World War II veteran who has spent 26 years on the Community Board, often advocating for his fellow veterans, praised the councilman and his initiative. “This is still another example of Councilman Gennaro’s ability in recognizing and responding to the meaningful and fundamental quality of life needs of his constituents, and his skills over the years that resolve in satisfaction. This why the residents of Briarwood continue to express their appreciation to Councilman Gennaro for his support of our community’s rich activities and institutions that have made Briarwood a community of cohesiveness and pride.”

Many DSNY leaders joined the announcement, including the Queens Borough Command and Eyal Egher, the superintendent in charge of the Queens East 8. To request clean-up services, graffiti removal services, or snow removal services, residents of City Council District 24 may call Council Member Gennaro’s office at 718-217- 4969. Please note snow removal services will only be offered to senior citizens and disabled individuals.

By Shabsie Saphirstein