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Ridgewood cleans streets with greenery

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Two groups, the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation and the Ridgewood Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, each will receive $200,000 in federal funds from a program initiated by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Ridgewood) to give city neighborhoods $2 million for community development projects this year.

"This funding will help local organizations turn their innovative plans into concrete solutions for the community," Velazquez said. "Residents will be able to access services that are crucial for economic growth and healthy living. These projects will make our communities healthier, safer, better places to live and work."

Greater Ridgewood will use the funds to plant 4,800 trees along the streets of Ridgewood and across the border in Brooklyn.

The trees are intended not only to beautify the streets but to soak up some of the noxious air pollution that has given the western area of Queens the moniker "Asthma Alley," said Greater Ridgewood Executive Director Angela Mirabile.

Mirabile said the group has been surveying Ridgewood throughout the winter, locating spots where the trees will be planted when the weather breaks.

"We've done an enormous amount of surveying. So far we have about 2,000 locations," Mirabile said. "The trees we will be planting are special ones that are best for the city. They have small roots so they won't be breaking through sidewalks when they get big."

The Ridgewood Myrtle Avenue BID will use the money to perform a planning study to explore the redevelopment of a 10-block commercial strip in Ridgewood and to implement improvements.

Ted Renz, Ridgewood Myrtle Avenue BID executive director, said the group plans to survey the area for redevelopment potential and identify specific sites to undertake the renovation and construction of commercial and retail space, including office spaces.

Reach reporter Tom Nicholson by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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