Keep Astoria Clean an ongoing focus in the community

Cleanliness has always been a leading concern for business owners and residents in the outer boroughs.

And since City Council budgets were established earlier this summer, programs like the Doe Fund and the Center for Employment Opportunities have been called on for their street maintenance initiatives.

Since taking office this year, Councilman Costa Constantinides has dedicated $160,000 in discretionary funding to the Keep Astoria Clean program in order to provide a more focused approach to litter and graffiti removal services.

“Since the start of the campaign, we have spread the word about what everyone can do and the role we all have in making sure our streets stay clean,” Constantinides said.

Although the program is now in the “maintaining phase,” according to a Constantinides staffer, the councilman stressed that it doesn’t mean things have been put on autopilot.

“This work will continue,” he said. “All community members have the power to Keep Astoria Clean if we work together.”

The councilman has invested $130,000 towards the Doe Fund project on 31st Street between 30th Avenue and Broadway, as well as $30,000 towards graffiti cleanup this year.

Lifelong Astoria resident Veronica Alston said although she has noticed certain areas have gotten attention while others still have work to be done, she explained that the issue is nothing new.

Alston said that while the grounds in the Astoria Houses where she grew up are clean due to the housing maintenance, the surrounding community – along areas on 8th Street – “could do better.”

“There is one trash receptacle on all four corners over here, and the community garden across the street, the sidewalk over there is always a mess,” Alston said, referring to the Two Coves Community Garden on Astoria Boulevard.

Dutch Kills Civic Association president Dominic Stiller said he hopes the Keep Astoria Clean initiative will highlight the amount of red tape that communities have to go through to get programs like the Doe Fund.

“There is a total double-standard when it comes to cleaning neighborhoods,” he explained. “It’s income-based and it took a lot to get our neighborhood at a better level.”

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