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Rego Park Residents Say CVS Tarnishes Their Neighborhood With Trash

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | March 27, 2014 3:33pm
 Trash from the store often ends up in a nearby community garden, residents say.
Residents Complain About Trash Around CVS in Rego Park
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QUEENS — Garbage from a local CVS store has been littering the neighborhood, often ending up in a nearby community garden, a problem that has been going on for years but worsened recently, residents said.

The store at 61-01 Woodhaven Blvd. “doesn't keep their yard clean,” said Yvonne Shortt, executive director of the Rego Park Green Alliance, which built the garden last year on an embankment next to the store.

According to data provided by the Department of Sanitation, from 2007 to 2014, the CVS received 51 summonses for having a dirty sidewalk, which carry a fine of $100 each. The store has paid all but two, which are pending, according to DSNY spokeswoman Kathy Dawkins.

The garden used to be a vacant lot belonging to the Department of Transportation. But the space became a "community dumping ground and CVS's garbage was blowing in,” according to Shortt.

Frank Gulluscio, district manager at Community Board 6, which covers Forest Hills and Rego Park, said that he has received numerous complaints from residents about the garbage issue in the area.

“CVS is not taking care of that particular property. It’s dirty, it’s filthy,” Gulluscio said.  “CVS should be a community partner and help keep the area decent and clean.”

The Rego Park Green Alliance, which spent more than $3,000 to turn the 700-square-feet space it into a community garden, recently placed a formal complaint with CVS’s corporate office in Rhode Island.

“The frustration is the Rego Park Green Alliance spent thousands to get rid of the dump and turn it into a garden, the LIRR shored up the edge to prevent erosion, but the CVS can't use a broom,” said Shortt.

A couple of weeks ago a gated fence surrounding CVS's garbage containers broke, which made the situation worse. "Garbage and boxes blew all over," including into the garden, Shortt said.

“What makes it worse is on windy days their garbage flies around, hits you as you walk by, and goes into our newly created garden,” she added.

The store declined to comment and referred questions to corporate headquarters. Mike DeAngelis, a spokesman for CVS, said in an email Thursday that "the gate is scheduled to be repaired next week."

"We are in touch with the trash haulers about improving the quality and increasing the quantity of pickups," DeAngelis wrote.

On Thursday, neighbors said that the site appeared cleaner.

The DOT said the agency "will look into the matter with DSNY."