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December 15, 2003
Clean Up Teams Take Kew

by Donald Bertrand
Main St. in Kew Gardens Hills will be getting a clean sweep, starting today. Workers from the Doe Fund's Ready, Willing & Able initiative are scheduled to start cleaning the street this morning from 76th Road to Melbourne Ave.

Thanks to $24,500 in funding from Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), the workers, who are former homeless men, will be out along Main St. Monday through Friday, from 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

The Doe Fund will operate under an initial six-month contract with the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association, said Gennaro.

The councilman said he saw the work that Ready, Willing & Able does in other Queens neighborhoods, including Woodside and Forest Hills, and decided Kew Gardens Hills could use their services as well.

"Kew Gardens Hills is a wonderful place to live and raise a family," Gennaro said, but he conceded that, as in many neighborhoods in the city, "keeping a handle on the litter problem can often be a challenge.

"With the Ready, Willing & Able crews working here every day along Main St., we'll have the immaculate streets that the community deserves. This is a great day for the Kew Gardens Hills community, and we're excited to get to work," he said.

Pat Dolan, president of the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association, said, "We are thrilled that the Ready, Willing & Able program will now be in Kew Gardens Hills to keep the area looking beautiful, and we are thankful to Councilman Gennaro for recognizing and addressing the important quality-of-life issue.

"Not only will the community enjoy a higher quality of life, but we can feel good knowing that these men are taking strong steps toward becoming independent and productive members of society."

George McDonald, president and founder of the Doe Fund, said, "In every neighborhood in which Ready, Willing & Able works, our trainees become proud members of the community, and we know that Kew Gardens Hills will be no different.

"People see the guys every day, and often get to know them and chat with them on their way to work. They see that our trainees are happy to be giving back to New York City, and to be doing something productive to reclaim their lives."

Gennaro also has used discretionary funds to double the number of litter-basket pickups in commercial areas throughout the district and replaced missing litter baskets.

He is working to replace all the old baskets with new larger ones. He also has worked with the Sanitation Department to get stepped-up enforcement to stamp out illegal dumping and maintain street cleanliness.

"Keeping our streets clean is a basic quality-of-life issue that cannot be ignored," said Gennaro. "In difficult budget times, we have got to be innovative in our approach to addressing the needs of the community and the city at large."

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