First neighborhood cleanup a success

Originally published in Brooklyn Reporter on July 16, 2020.

Bay Ridge made some sweeping changes this week.

Residents took part in the first of three neighborhood cleanups scheduled for July.

The cleanup was organized by State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Councilmember Justin Brannan, who were joined at the event by Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia.

“We know times are tough for the city, so it’s on all of us to do our part and help keep our community nice, clean, welcoming and enjoyable for all,” Gounardes told participants. “We are going to do our part.”

“The city is in really tough straits right now because of budget cuts,” said Brannan, “and you’re seeing the effects over the past couple of months when our neighbors in Sanitation and the Parks Department, all the city workers, they were sick with COVID. They were struggling just like we were.”

Garcia said budget cuts have not helped.

“We got cut by almost 500 sanitation employees in this budget,” she said. “Whether that’s on your curb line, your litter basket, we really need the community to come together and help them.”

“We don’t think that one cleanup is going to magically make the neighborhood spotless but it’s about pitching in,” said Brannan. “For us to actually take responsibility for our community will hopefully send a good message that we are all in this together and we are all partners in keeping this clean.”

Local store owners were appreciative of the effort.

“It’s amazing,” said Alex Saad. “So nice to see people sweep here.”

The next cleanup will take place on Wednesday, July 22, beginning at 8203 Third Ave.