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Third Avenue kicks off Adopt-a-Basket program

In an effort to keep street corners along the shopping strip clean and inviting, Third Avenue businesses have launched an Adopt-a-Basket program for the thoroughfare.

So far, about 10 merchants along the strip have signed on to the program, which is supported

by the city’s Department of Sanitation (DOS) — which will supply bags and pick up the bagged trash on a regular basis — as well as by State Senator Marty Golden, who presented certificates to the first group of participating merchants during a press conference outside Chadwick’s at Third Avenue and 89th Street, on Thursday, May 10.

Keeping the thoroughfare clean encourages area residents to shop there, rather than in Staten Island, Long Island or New Jersey, Golden contended. “If the avenue is dirty and people can’t park, they will go somewhere else,” he said, resulting in an economic impact to local businesses that will reverberate through the community as a whole.

“Each of these businesses hires 10, 15, 20 people,” Golden went on. “The people who work in our stores are our moms and our dads.” If people forsake the avenue for other shopping areas, businesses may close, meaning a loss of jobs and also a diminution in the quality-of-life as empty storefronts replace thriving businesses, he said.

Patrick Condren, the executive director of the 86th Street Business improvement District, agreed. “Keeping the place clean is not only better for business, it’s good for everybody,” he said.

“Third Avenue intends to participate in the program fully,” added Robert Howe, the president of the Merchants of Third Avenue, who noted, “The association has a history of only saying yes to programs that enhance the avenue.”

The program represents a mutually beneficial working relationship between area businesses and DOS, said Ignazio Terranova, the agency’s citywide community affairs officer.

“We’re happy to be partnering with the merchants in the neighborhood,” he said. “We have always felt it’s not just us. It’s all of us. We have to do this together.”

The certificates Golden is giving out are meant, he said, to let area residents know which merchants are participating in the program, “So people can see they are being not only good neighbors but good businesspeople, smart businesspeople, the people you want to do business with.”

Any business on any strip can participate in the Adopt-a-Basket program, but Golden said he is hoping the more formalized approach could be spread beyond Third Avenue to all of the other shopping strips in the area and beyond, “so we can have the quality of life we deserve.”

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