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East 86th Street Rallies to Clean Up Trash After Doe Fund's Departure

By DNAinfo Staff on December 19, 2012 10:27am

UPPER EAST SIDE — Neighborhood advocates have hired a new firm to clean the commercial area around East 86th street in the wake of the Doe Fund's recent departure but they are appealing to those in the neighborhood for help in footing the bill.

The East 86th Street Association said that the Doe Fund's decision to pull out of the area because of Hurricane Sandy-related financial constraints has left the neighborhood a "mess" — and a possible "public health" hazard. As a result, they said, they have hired a private company to clean sidewalks and empty garbage cans.

The Association said that Atlantic Maintenance will sweep sidewalks and empty garbage cans for four hours daily. And the Department of Sanitation and area electeds have green-lighted additional service and enforcement of trash violations, the Association said.

But this new set-up will only provide about one-third of the necessary cleanup, the Association claimed. 

"The extent of the garbage on the street this cleanup effort requires is up to 12 hours a day, an estimated $1442 per week or $75,000 a year," the Association said in a statement. The group was making an "emergency appeal for donations, of any amount, to help us cover the cost."

"The Association cannot fund this on our own and thus we are reaching out to concerned citizens like you to meet this urgent need," the nonprofit said.

Elaine Walsh, who heads the Association, said she doesn't know what's causing the trash to mount, but worries about the severity of the conditions on the street.

She said that some 124,000 people pass through the nearby subway hub at East 86th and Lexington Avenue daily, potentially worsening the situation.

"We've reached a public health issue level," she said. "This is a very heavily traveled pedestrian traffic corridor."

The Doe Fund said that it will not reverse its policy.

"Our regrettable truth remains, that we as an organization are no longer able to afford the $300,000 annual cost of maintaining the East 86th Street business corridor without the support of local real estate owners," a Doe spokesman said.