July 9, 2014 By Christian Murray
The city is going to be hiring more workers to clean the streets of Long Island City.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who recruited the services of a non-profit group last year to clean a large section of Hunters Point, has allocated funds from the latest city budget to expand the coverage area to include Dutch Kills and a much wider swath of Long Island City.
Van Bramer allocated $34,000 from last year’s budget to hire two workers from the Doe Fund, a group that provides jobs to homeless people in an effort to help them rebuild their lives, to empty garbage and pick up trash on Vernon Blvd (between 50th and 45th Avenues) and 11th Street (50th Avenue through 45th Avenue)—as well as some parts of Jackson Avenue.
In the 2015 budget, Van Bramer has allocated an additional $70,000 toward expanding the Hunters Point program and cleaning the Dutch Kills neighborhood.
Van Bramer has not finalized the list of streets that will be added to the Hunters Point program. However, he said, that that the number of streets that will be added will be significant.
Furthermore, the list of streets that will be cleaned in Dutch Kills has yet to be compiled. However, Van Bramer said that a lot of attention will be paid to 36th Avenue.
Dutch Kills is roughly bounded by 36th Avenue to the north, Queens Plaza to the south, 21st Street to the west and 32nd Street to the east.
The recent passage of the city budget is going to bring plenty of other resources to Long Island City.
Van Bramer has secured $750,000 in funding for Planned Parenthood, which is opening a center in Court Square (21-45 45th Road) next year. The funds will be used to help the organization rehabilitate its new space.
The new center, which will be Planned Parenthood’s first in Queens, represents “an important expansion of their services and programs,” Van Bramer said. “I support healthcare for women and all new Yorkers, and Planned Parenthood provides a vast array of programs regarding sexual and reproductive health.”
City funds are also going toward several Western Queens arts organizations.
Van Bramer, who is chair of the city council’s Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee, has secured $1 million for MoMA PS1 to construct new climate control systems.
Last year, MoMA PS 1 received $3 million to purchase a small apartment building that is located on the block where the museum now sits. MoMA PS1 is currently in negotiations with the current owner of that building.
Meanwhile, the Chocolate Factory Theater, which supports new and experimental productions and provides free art space to performers, will be receiving $250,000 to help it purchase the 5-49 49th Avenue property that it now rents. Last year, the Chocolate Factory was allocated $1.7 million of city funds toward the purchase of the property.
Van Bramer said that the Chocolate Factory is still in negotiations with the owner and that the additional funds should help it execute its plan of buying the property. Van Bramer said it is important that the Chocolate Factory has a secure home in Long Island City.
Meanwhile, Van Bramer said that $1 million has been allocated toward completing the Henson Wing at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. The new wing, which should be completed by the beginning of next year, will showcase hundreds of puppets and costumes that were donated to the museum by the children of the late Jim Henson.
The Noguchi Museum will also be receiving $750,000 to ensure that it can withstand future storms and flooding.
In Sunnyside, Van Bramer has secured $4.5 million in funds for the restoration and expansion of Thalia Spanish Theater, which is the only bilingual Hispanic theater in Queens.