Astoria invests in cleaner streets and graffiti removal
by Jess Berry
Aug 13, 2014 | 466 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Doe Fund’s “men in blue” have now expanded their route to clean more streets in Astoria.
The Doe Fund’s “men in blue” have now expanded their route to clean more streets in Astoria.
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Doe Fund founder George McDonald, State Senator Michael Gianaris and Councilman Costa Constantinides at the announcement of the expanded funding for street cleaning.
Doe Fund founder George McDonald, State Senator Michael Gianaris and Councilman Costa Constantinides at the announcement of the expanded funding for street cleaning.
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Astoria streets will be looking a lot cleaner — and a lot bluer — this year, thanks to Councilman Costa Constantinides’ increased allocation of funds for street cleaning by members of the Doe Fund, or “the men in blue.”

Constantinides announced that he has invested $130,000 of discretionary funds in street sweeping by the Doe Fund, a non-profit that hires formerly homeless or incarcerated individuals and gives them jobs to help them get back on their feet.

The men in blue started sweeping 31st Street, 30th Avenue, and Broadway back in April with positive results and feedback.

“I have been hearing from many constituents about the positive impact that the Doe Fund has made on our community,” Constantinides said. “That’s when I knew it was important to continue and expand our relationship in order to make more of our neighborhood even cleaner.”

The program expansion has added street sweeping services to Steinway Street, Newtown Road, Ditmars Boulevard and 23rd Avenue.

Constantinides has also allocated a total of $30,000 for graffiti removal throughout the neighborhood.

The money comes from the Clean NYC initiative, which Constantinides sponsored. Clean NYC allocates additional money to every district for street cleaning and graffiti removal.

Constantinides called the investment in the Doe Fund “a win-win-win for all.”

Doe Fund founder George McDonald agreed, thanking Constantinides for investing in jobs for his employees.

“The best social program in America is a job, and what we need are jobs for people at the bottom to be able to rise up,” McDonald said.

The street cleaning has been an obvious benefit to the community, which has seen incredible results and will continue to improve Astoria with the expansion, according to Steinway Business Partnership Executive Director Marie Torniali.

“The expanded Doe Fund route will be a boon to small businesses in Astoria,” Torniali said. “Small business owners won’t have to respond to dirty streets instead of focusing on their businesses, and residents will no longer have to jump over litter on their way to work.”

For Constantinides, clean streets have been a focus since his election to office at the beginning of the year. He reminded residents that while the Doe Fund is a program that has done wonders for the neighborhood, the responsibility also falls on community members to keep Astoria clean.

“This is really a neighbor to neighbor, community member to community member initiative,” he said. “So we’re excited about having the Doe Fund here, but we’re really looking forward to working with everyone in Astoria to keep Astoria clean.”
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