Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gulluscio and Addabbo Clear Up Issue On Funds for Liberty Avenue Doe Fund Clean-Up - 2009-10-20

Local Groups Slam Councilman Ulrich’s Decision to Cut Funding

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District Leader Frank Gulluscio and State Senator Joseph Addabbo were joined by local civic activists and business owners at Moblegott Hardware Store on Liberty Avenue to announce that State Senator Addabbo has stepped in to provide State funding for the Doe Fund’s clean-up of Liberty Avenue.

In previous years, State Senator Addabbo (then-Councilmember) allocated $74,000 in City Council funds to the Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing and Able Program. This program provided for supplemental street cleaning service in Richmond Hill along the commercial corridor on Liberty Avenue between 104th St and Lefferts Blvd and in the Rockaways on Beach 116th St and Rockaway Blvd. Council Member Ulrich severely cut funding to the DOE fund, from $74,000 to $38,000. This drastic decrease in funding provides only for cleaning in the Rockaways portion of the district, eliminating the service along Liberty Avenue.

“The program is a win-win for the neighborhood as it not only beautifies the busy corridor but, the men of the Ready, Willing and Able program are often formerly homeless or ex-offenders looking for that critical first job. The Department of Sanitation does an outstanding job of keeping our streets clean but, with cuts to supplemental collection the Doe Fund plays an important role in this community. I fought for this funding in the state budget because I knew it was critically important to the community. I’m disappointed the city funding was cut, because we could have expanded this successful program that benefits the community.” State Senator Addabbo said.

The $47,000 grant secured by State Senator Addabbo will provide for street cleaning by the Doe Fund on Liberty Avenue between 104th St and Lefferts Blvd. The service will begin November 2009.

“The community here needs more resources not less. I’m disappointed that our current Councilman cut funding to this vital program. When I’m on the City Council, I will ensure equitable funding across the whole district not to a few select spots.” said District Leader Frank Gulluscio. “Often, it is the small things that can make a big difference for a retail corridor, and the Doe Fund helps make Liberty Avenue cleaner, more inviting and more business friendly—not to mention a better environment for shoppers and pedestrians.”

“I don’t understand why Councilman Ulrich would have cut this money for our community. That is pure politics not good government” said Margaret Finnerty, President of the Richmond Hill South Civic Association. “This program made a real difference on Liberty Avenue. Keeping our streets clean is a basic quality of life issue that cannot be ignored. We are grateful for Senator Addabbo and his support of this vital program. With the upcoming election in November, I am hopeful that the winner of this election realizes the importance of restoring the funds that Councilman Ulrich cut.”

"We cannot make the mistake of thinking that this is just about dirty sidewalks and litter, says Ravisharon Kaur, Director of Programs for SEVA, a non-profit community organization whose offices are located on Liberty Avenue.”This is a quality of life issue. Studies have shown that deterioration of urban centers such as Liberty Avenue repels much needed economic development and also leads to crime. Liberty Avenue is the heart of the Richmond Hill community which needs more resources not less."

“The businesses here need clean streets. Thankfully Joe Addabbo was able to step in and secure funding to bring the Doe Fund back to Liberty Avenue. Our community needs more resources and attention not less. We deserve to have a city councilman who understands that and will fight for our community. Councilman Ulrich cut funding to our community and we will remember that this November” said Stanley Raj of Main Street Insurance, Inc.