Sunday, May 20, 2012
Plea for garbage help in Jamaica
Dear Councilman Leroy Comrie, Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall, Senator Malcolm Smith, Assemblymember Rory Lancman, Iggy Terranova, Community Board #12 Members and Other Concerned Individuals:
I am once again making a complaint about the huge litter/garbage problem in Jamaica in various areas all over our community that just does not seem to get resolved. I have talked to others in the community who feel the same way I do and have heard people talk about this issue at the Community Board Meetings and at Senator Smith's most recent town hall meeting, where I spoke to Department of Sanitation Community Affairs Officer Iggy Terranova about this issue. It is ironic that Jamaica has the most landmarked buildings in all of Queens (approximately 15, something to be very proud of) but has the worst garbage/litter dumping problem of the borough. Of course Jamaica has many problems such as foreclosures, crime, black on black crime, high unemployment, but this garbage problem is just as important an issue since it is the first thing that people see when they come into our community and speaks volumes about our community. It not only is an eyesore and an ugly blight on Jamaica, but it brings with it pests and rodents, lowers property values in the neighborhood and deters quality people from moving into Jamaica, which I feel has so much potential and can become another downtown Brooklyn. This problem need to be addressed and have solutions to not only clean it up, but to stop it from constantly continuing.
Personally speaking, I am again complaining about some problem areas that I have complained about the past several times to very little avail. One is a vacant lot with garbage inside it and on the outside on the sidewalk right next to where I live. This fenced vacant lot is on the NW corner of 170th St & 90th Avenue (next to my co-op building, Avalon Terrace Apartments). I have been complaining since the beginning of 2011 to not only all of you, but have filed numerous complaints by both phone and on-line to 311 and the Department of Sanitation (at least 20 times). All I ever hear it that it takes time. Well, over a year is NOT ACCEPTABLE. The summer of 2011, the owner of that lot finally came out and started to clean-up both the outside and inside of the lot, BUT left the garbage bags along with other debris in the empty lot and has never removed this, plus new various types of garbage (bottles, cans, bags, umbrellas, etc.) have been thrown inside this lot and just continues to pile up, not only on the inside but on the sidewalks as well, plus the weeds on the sidewalks are getting a couple of feet high, a perfect place to dump more garbage. I have cleaned this sidewalk several times even though it is not my property otherwise it will just continue to pile up like it did when I first complained about it a year ago. Here it is May of 2012 and this problem has never been adequately taken care of. Now with the warmer weather and another summer approaching this problem is just going to escalate. I wonder how many of you would tolerate this if you lived in my building or would allow this to happen in your neighborhoods.
Another lot (Block 9803, Lot 7, Lot 6) on 90th Avenue (between 170th St and 169th St) which is just two lots west from the above lot, also has a major litter problem in front of it on the sidewalk. This lot has a huge wooden fence in front of it (which was falling down into the sidewalk and only was taken care of because of Howard Thompson from "Help Me Howard" who saw my video on You Tube) and garbage is always piling up in front of it on the sidewalk, including a dead raccoon last year and a few days ago had a dead squirrel along with various garbage. The squirrel is gone, but the garbage is still there.
Another empty lot on 89th Avenue on the North side of the street (between 170th and 171st), which just recently had a home torn down, also has a garbage problem in front of it as well. Garbage gets dumped all the time in front of that lot and it just piles up.
The tunnel on 170th Street between Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue is a notorious dumping ground for everything you can think of, from garbage bags to mattresses. At this time, there is a small amount of garbage, but that is a big trouble spot.
These are 4 places which are all in close proximity to where I live and there are many others all over Jamaica, including the Post Office Parking Lot and the surrounding sidewalk on 90th Avenue and the vacant lot at the corner of Merrick Boulevard and Foch, right across from the park (although I have been told that this was recently cleaned up by some community group). I am sure there are many, many other places that I have not even seen, but have heard people complain about.
I realize that some of the people who live here and visit Jamaica are the culprits of dumping the litter and garbage, BUT the owners of such properties are majorly responsible for cleaning their areas on a continuous basis. Also the city needs to respond to these complaints in a more appropriate and timely fashion. Again I do not think dealing with some of these same problems for over a year is acceptable. I have no idea what the fines are against property owners, but a huge increase in fines should be considered as well as turning some of these properties over to community groups who actually care about our neighborhood.
I am once again asking for help in this matter since I cannot do this all alone. I am going to continually monitor this situation near me as I have been. This problem needs to be addressed once and for all and everyone on this list should be ashamed that this problem is not getting taken care of and also continues over and over again. I am willing to work with all of you, other politicians, and the city to see that this situation gets addressed. This type of problem does not happen (nor would it be tolerated) in Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Long Island City, Astoria, Maspeth and other places in Queens, but for some reason it is allowed to happen in Jamaica at an alarming rate and does not seem to get addressed properly. I do my share by filing complaints, document the areas and even going out on on weekends to clean the sidewalk in front of the empty lot by my building, but I can only do so much.
Jamaica has so much potential with it's wonderful history, historical buildings (the amazing Loew's Wonder Theatre), various parks, a burgeoning arts community (including the Jamaica Performing Arts Center Black Spectrum Theatre, York College, etc), close proximity to highways, airports, train stations, but if the city cannot even keep it clean, how are we going to attract the necessary people and businesses here to help Jamaica rise above its image and other problems. Jamaica can be the crowning jewel of Queens but as it stands it is the eyesore and embarrassment of Queens.
Please help with this ongoing problem. I know I will not stop complaining to all of you and will make my voice heard until it gets addressed properly.