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July 9, 2012
Councilman Van Bramer Allots $31K For Woodside Clean-Up

Residents and business owners in Woodside said it's a much needed relief, as more help sweeps into the neighborhood to take out the trash.

by Lisa McDivitt

For the past several years the people of Woodside noticed trash piling up along the area's major streets.

“They haven't cleaned it in weeks. All the garbage is spilled all over the place. There's bottles, food, everything,” said resident Tina McDonnell.

It got so bad she would be out every day sweeping the sidewalks in the early morning hours.

One business owner adopted an extra trash can for the corner outside of his pizzeria.

“We keep the bags in there and keep, you know, because the garbage can was getting too full,” said Frank Gambina.

But now more help is on the way.

This week City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer announced he allocated $31,000 of the city's money to help keep Woodside Ave., Roosevelt Ave. and the surrounding streets cleaner.

“This is a high-traffic, high-volume area where there are so many people coming from so many different places and it can get pretty dirty,” Bramer said.

Additional street-sweeping and cleaning is something often funded by Business Improvement Districts, or BIDs, in other neighborhoods. But Woodside has yet to get a BID off the ground.

So the city's money will now go to the Doe Fund, a non-profit organization whose Ready, Willing and Able program employs people with a history of incarceration and homelessness.

The fund will now provide two workers, three times a week, who will sweep up trash and bag up garbage in Woodside.

“And that provides not only support for the community but also paid jobs for these gentleman to help them hopefully get their lives back on track,” said Joanna West, of the Doe Fund.

The workers from the Doe Fund will work in conjunction with the Department of Sanitation to help keep this part of Woodside and the surrounding streets clean. Business owners and residents said it will be a welcome change.

“It's nice to see them clean up once in a while,” McDonnell said.

“I like it nice and clean. I think it's better for the environment and everything else,” Gambina said.

The Doe Fund will work in Woodside for the next year and neighborhood officials said they hope to hire the workers again in coming years.

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