Greenpoint Gazette

Cleanliness is Major Part of Levin’s New Fiscal Budget

BY Tanay Warerkar

North Brooklyn is getting a cleanliness makeover.

Councilmember Steve Levin announced this week that he would be using a chunk of the funding allocated for the new fiscal year to help spruce up the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

The new funds directed towards cleanliness are part of a citywide initiative. $3.5 million were added to the City Council’s budget to keep the city streets cleaner as part of a program titled Cleanup NYC Initiative.

Each Councilmember was awarded $68,628 for the cleanup work in their districts.

“Thanks to the City Council’s Cleanup NYC Initiative, I am thrilled that we will be able to help clean and beautify the neighborhoods of the 33rd District,” said Levin. “It is essential that each of our neighborhoods is a great place to live and raise a family and cleanliness is an important factor in accomplishing that. We are partnering with amazing groups to do this work in the 33rd District and I am excited to see these resources be put to good use.”

The funds will be utilized in the maintenance of streets and parks, to introduce new high-end litter baskets, and to beautify public spaces.

The assistance is a much-needed sign of relief for an area that for several years has borne the brunt of the city’s waste. Neighborhood groups like the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning (GWAPP) and Organizations United for Trash Reduction and Garbage Equity (OUTRAGE) have campaigned for years for the equitable distribution of this burden. Currently, North Brooklyn is home to 19 waste transfer stations and processes about 40 percent of the city’s trash.

And while the Council’s initiative won’t directly address the trash burden, it’s a step towards addressing the growing need of the neighborhood, especially in light of the rapidly escalating real estate developments in the neighborhood and the potential to bring in thousands more people into the neighborhood.

Levin’s office will partner with the Center for Employment Opportunities, the organization that provides life skills and employment opportunities to individuals with criminal records, to carry out the work entailed in the program.

“Engaging formerly incarcerated individuals in neighborhood clean-up and beautification projects provides them with much-needed income and structured job experience, while also encouraging these individuals to be stewards of their own communities,” said Sam Schaeffer, the Executive Director of Center for Employment Opportunities.

There are no dates at present about when the changes will begin taking effect.

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