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Local pol announces increased cleanup for business-heavy streets

Southwestern Brooklyn about to get a whole lot cleaner.

Councilmember Vincent Gentile joined local merchants on Tuesday, October 20 to announce the expansion of the Department of Sanitation’s (DSNY) trash pick-up service within the 43rd Council District, which encompasses Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst.

Last year, under NYC Cleanup—an initiative started last year by the City Council—Gentile allocated more than $120,000 for twice-a-day basket pickups three times a week on top of street sweeping and trash bagging. This year, he’s kicked it up a notch, announcing that he and the Council have upped the initiative by $35,000—plus an additional $90,000 of his own discretionary funding—to expand the service to four days a week, Mondays now included.

“We know what it means to have clean streets and what that implies for our businesses, and what it means to the reputation of the community,” said Gentile, outside the Art Room, 8710 Third Avenue.

The increase in pickups, he said, will include Third Avenue, 13th Avenue and 18th Avenue, with twice-a-day pickups taking place on those strips on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

“That, I think is a major, major plus because one of the recurring problems we always have is that these cans fill up and they start to overflow,” he said, “so if we have them cleaned out twice-a-day, four times a week, I think that will go a long way in keeping our streets clean.”

Additionally, the 13th Avenue route has been extended nearly 10 blocks to encompass from 65th Street to 86th Street.

To boot, Gentile said, Wildcat—a non-profit organization that provides job opportunities and resources for New Yorkers to become economically independent—will dispatch workers to sweep the streets and bag trash on all routes, three days a week.

“This gives us an opportunity to help other people get jobs on their way to self-sufficiency and, in addition, it also helps to compliment the work that other business owners and everyone else is already doing in the community,” said Wildcat Director of Operations Mario La Rosa, adding that, in addition to sweeping and bagging, Wildcat is also willing to assist with snow removal, graffiti cover-up and power-washing. “We’re just really excited to get to work.”

Also on hand for the announcement were Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, DSNY Community Affairs Liaison Bruno Iciano, and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Russo as well as local merchants like Leigh Brannan, owner of the Art Room.

“We take a lot of pride being [from Bay Ridge] and providing a clean, safe environment for our families and our children,” said Brannan, thanking Gentile not just on behalf of fellow merchants but also on behalf of the children local businesses like Brannan’s serve. “As you can see, [NYC Cleanup] is already making a huge difference. We’re proud to be here.”

“This initiative has an impact on my district but it also has an impact on Brooklyn itself,” Gentile concluded. “Everyone says Brooklyn is hot. Brooklyn is hot but it also wants to be clean, too.”

Funding for the initiative in the 43rd District has reached an unprecedented $200,000.

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