125th Street Garbage To Be Fought With City Funding Boost – Patch

HARLEM, NY — Busy, sometimes-filthy 125th Street could look a little cleaner thanks to a new pot of money from the city, intended to boost sanitation services along the corridor.
The City Council voted Tuesday to approve a $446,566 funding increase for the 125th Street Business Improvement District, bringing the group’s annual budget to $1,687,028.
The BID, which represents business concerns along 125th Street, has long funded a crew of private sanitation workers to pick up trash along the boulevard. The new money will double the BID’s sanitation workforce and hours, according to a Council document.
“125th Street is just unacceptable with the garbage,” Barbara Askins, the BID’s president, told Patch on Tuesday.
Indeed, Askins and others have raised alarms about conditions along 125th during the pandemic, from garbage to an uptick in petty crimes like burglary. In one frightening incident, one of the BID’s own sanitation workers was shot and wounded while on the job last November. (A suspect was later arrested.)
“125th Street has seen an increase in quality-of-life challenges over the last few years, and new development projects are expected to open soon and bring additional activity and residential tenants to the corridor,” the Council document reads.
Besides sanitation services, the new funding will also help the BID expand its digital marketing and fundraising efforts, and provide wage increases to its security workers. It is retroactive to July 1, covering the next fiscal year.
Rough as things may have gotten in recent years, they may still be a far cry from the early 1990s, when Askins founded the BID. Back then, she later told the New York Times, the proliferation of garbage amounted to “total chaos.”
“The trash was blowing everywhere,” she said. “It would hit you in the face while walking down the street.”
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