Van Brunt Street can make a claim to the title of cleanest roadway in Brooklyn thanks to 11 new trashcans deployed on Wednesday.
The new steel cans — courtesy of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation — are smartly designed with narrow apertures, to discourage transgressors from dumping bulky household or commercial trash, and are adorned with anchors — a nod to the neighborhood’s salty past.
Josh Keller, the executive director of the development corporation, said that the cans represent a collaboration between his organization and residents, who have long groused about the lack of proper receptacles along the historically litter-laden stretch.
“The new cans will contribute to keeping it clean,” Keller said.
The cans have local flavor, forged by Linda Tool & Die Company, a Dwight Street metal manufacturer, and will occupy a stretch of Van Brunt from Verona Street to Van Dyke Street — just eight blocks.
Residents and business owners said they welcomed the veritable trash can invasion.
“It will be so much nicer to give people the opportunity to put their garbage somewhere,” said Mary Kyle, one of the owners of Dry Dock Wine and Spirits on Van Brunt. “If people are given the opportunity to keep their homes clean, they’ll do it.”
The development corporation received a $200,000 state grant back in 2006 — $25,000 of which went to the new trash cans and other streetscape enhancements.
Officials with the community development corporation insisted that they had to fulfill other requirements of the grant before the cans could be installed, but merchants and residents grew restless with the interminable wait.
City Hall — gearing up for election season — reacted quickly, installing five new cans last June on Van Brunt, from Pioneer Street to Beard Street.
Elizabeth Demetriou, the development corporation’s director of revitalization and development explained that another component to the delay was that the cans had to meet the Department of Sanitation’s uncanny criteria, since the agency will be in charge of servicing the receptacles.
Area activist Lou Sones, coordinator of the environmental group Groups Against Garbage Sites, warned that the neighborhood has been a target for illegal dumpers, and the cans could attract more garbage than they can handle — despite the clever design.
“Richer neighborhoods like Park Slope all have street cans that are well maintained,” he said. “Monitoring [the cans] is the key to their success.”
©2010 Community News Group
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