Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) wants to clean up his district – literally.
Councilman Paul Vallone speaks with one of the Doe Fund workers that will help keepCollege Point Boulevard clean. Photo by Joe Marvilli.
Vallone announced on Monday that he secured nearly $70,000 through the City Council’s Cleanup Initiative to keep sections of College Point Boulevard and Bell Boulevard as uncluttered and trash-free as possible. The funds will pay four staffers of the Doe Fund, a nonprofit that helps people with histories of homelessness, incarceration and substance abuse. These workers will sweep streets, empty litter baskets and powerwash sidewalks, starting October 1.
“Where can we put a cleanup initiative? Where better than College Point?” Vallone asked. “College Point deserves to be clean, deserves to thrive with our small businesses and deserves to give these great men that are next to us a second chance.”
Three days per week, the cleanup will cover College Point Boulevard from 14th Avenue to 23rd Avenue and Bell Boulevard from 45th Drive to 35th Avenue. These areas were selected due to the large amount of filth complaints they have received in the past.
Besides keeping the sidewalks and streets spotless, the Doe Fund gives its workers employment and job training opportunities, so they can move on to a career once they graduate from the program. All of the Doe Fund employees are paid above the minimum wage.
“We really do appreciate this opportunity to expand our program to yet another community. It helps the fabric of the community and folks appreciate the cleanliness. An area that’s safe and clean is a thriving business,” George McDonald, the Doe Fund’s founder, said. “When you get finished with this cleanup initiative, you will see they have all come together to create a jewel for New York City.”
Civic leaders came out in support of the cleanup initiative, which allocated funding to every councilmember in the five boroughs. The elected officials can give the funds to the organization of his or her choice to provide cleaning services.
“The initiative that’s starting out over here, we hope it’ll continue and our merchants will realize that a cleaner neighborhood will improve business for all of us,” Tom Palma, president of College Point Board of Trade, said.
Community Board 7, which covers College Point, was also on hand in support of the program.
“Not only is [College Point] just a very large geographic area, it’s a very important area of Community Board 7,” Chuck Apelian, first vice chairperson of CB7, said. “This is a thrilling day, to know that Councilman Paul Vallone is able to bring this type of funding, this type of attention and this type of dedication.”
The program runs through June 2015.