Bruce Ratner is taking out the trash!
The Atlantic Yards developer on Monday will begin doling out heavy-duty covered garbage cans to Prospect Heights residents who have claimed that his Atlantic Yards mega-project has brought freakishly large rats to their streets.
The move comes one month after the company promised to reimburse infuriated locals for rat-proof cans.
“The gesture is a good start as long as it’s not just a gesture,” said Karen-Ida Scott, a Dean Street resident. “Our demand is to have the rats be manageable. We live in New York — we’re not unrealistic about the flood of rats that has overtaken us.”
Neighbors of the $4.9-billion Atlantic Yards project — which includes the under-construction Barclays Center basketball arena — have long blamed their rodent troubles on construction work.
When workers began excavating the Vanderbilt Yards in 2007, they displaced scores of rats, who gradually found new homes in the surrounding streets. Since then, the vermin have been feasting on sidewalk trash, gnawing on cars and invading apartments.
Now Ratner will dole out 172 cans at the Atlantic Yards Community Liaison Office, which is in a trailer on Carlton Avenue. The tight-lidded cans will help residents stop providing a feast, in the form of easily accessible household trash, for the vermin.
If residents can’t obtain their cans next week, they can set an appointment to pick one up.
The 34-gallon Rubbermaid wheeled cans — valued at $32 apiece — were approved by the Health Department and purchased at Pintchik Hardware on Bergen Street.
To be eligible for the giveaway, residents must live in a building of 12 or fewer units within the area bounded by Vanderbilt and Fourth avenues and Atlantic Avenue and Bergen Street.
Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco said there were no plans to expand the area of eligibility.
Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) said she was disappointed that Ratner’s offer doesn’t extend beyond the immediate neighborhood to Fort Greene, but Peter Krashes, president of the Dean Street Block Association, said that this is the first time he can remember that Ratner has accommodated a community request.
“Let’s hope they understand they have an ongoing obligation for the length of the project,” he said. “This is only a first step.”
To get a free receptacle, residents must provide a photo ID and utility bill dated within the last three months.
Atlantic Yards Community Liaison Office [Carlton Avenue between Pacific and Dean streets in Prospect Heights, (866) 923-5315]. For info, visit www.atlanticyards.com.