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Taking out the trash: Funds for new street sweeps in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach

It’s a clean sweep!

Coney Island’s councilmanhas added two more thoroughfares to the list of streets in the 47th District that will receive increased cleaning services, joining six other roadways already getting added cleanup.

The service comes courtesy of Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) as part of the Council’s NYC Cleanup Initiative, which got a 24-percent budgetary bump earlier this year. The funds will be well spent, according to Community Board 13’s district manager.

“It’s a great idea and it’s needed in the area,” said Eddie Mark.

The Bensonhurst stretch of 20th Avenue between 61st and 76th streets as well as the stretch of Bath Avenue between 25th Avenue and Bay 25th Street are the two newest streets to receive funding for the cleanings, which vary based on the season but reach four or five times per week in the summer. They join parts of 18th Avenue, 86th Street, Avenue U, Avenue X, Kings Highway, and Mermaid Avenue, which are already cleaned four times per week.

Workers clean the streets, sidewalks, and tree beds along the thoroughfares on foot, taking along a broom and service bin to collect trash, according to the executive director of the Alliance for Coney Island, which runs the cleaning program in Coney Island by hiring local workers through a contracted firm.

Mark said that tourists visiting Coney Island create build-ups of trash that are particularly heavy in the summer, making the program vital to the area.

The executive director of the Alliance, Alexandra Silversmith, said that the initiative benefits Mermaid Avenue and, by extension, Coney Island as a whole by making residents feel comfortable on the neighborhood’s main street.

“The first step to improving business and quality of life on Coney Island is for people to feel safe walking around,” said Alexandra Silversmith. “Mermaid Avenue is a main corridor, with schools, the only post office, the only bank, the library. It’s an essential area, and for residents, it’s essential they feel comfortable walking around.”

Silversmith said that Mermaid Avenue especially deserved the funds since Surf and Neptune avenues are more frequented by cars than on foot. But she also said she would like Councilman Treyger to direct additional funds to cover cleaning the amusement district near Luna Park, which also sees a heavy flow of tourists and their trash. The Alliance can’t levy fees on local businesses the way a business improvement district does, so city funding is key to providing the cleaning services. The group currently oversees and funds supplemental sanitation service in the amusement district on its own.

“Since we are unique — we are not a business improvement district — funding from the councilman’s office is essential for these services,” she said.

Councilman Treyger said in a statement that clean streets are important for keeping local businesses thriving and creating a pleasant environment for residents.

“Clean streets are an integral factor in maintaining a high quality-of-life standard in our community,” he said. “Filthy streets discourage consumers from shopping, negatively impacting our local small businesses.”

The executive director of the Kings Highway Beautification Association — which manages cleanup services on the sections of King’s Highway, Avenue P, and Avenue U between Ocean Parkway and McDonald Avenue — agreed with Treyger, and said that members of the organization believe cleaner streets help drive business.

“Results speak for themselves, and we think having a cleaner and more beautiful district will help propel small businesses forward,” said Joe Tricot.

Tricot said the service is a boon to the many small businesses on the sections of Kings Highway and Avenue U that the organization manages, but that he would also like to see an increase in service for Kings Highway and Avenue U from four to five or six days per week. Avenue P receives cleaning services that are funded separately, by Councilman David Greenfield (D–Bensonhurst).

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.

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