More than 16 million square feet of graffiti has been removed from public parks, streets and buildings since Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a graffiti clean-up initiative a year ago, the mayor announced at a news conference near the Brooklyn-Queens border in Ridgewood.
"We are pleased to report that we are making great strides in the fight against graffiti and its insidious effects on our quality of life," Bloomberg said July 16. If the 16.3 million square feet of graffiti were stretched out in a foot-wide strip, he said it would reach from New York City to Yakutat, Alaska.
Bloomberg was joined by Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty and city officials representing other participating agencies in the mayor's Anti-Graffiti Task Force. The group, coordinated by the mayor's Community Assistance Unit, has targeted graffiti in Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside and other Queens neighborhoods.
The initiative includes efforts by the city's Economic Development Corp., which removed more than 10 million square feet of graffiti from commercial and industrial areas.
"To boost New York City's economy and create jobs, it's critical to create neighborhoods where people want to live and businesses want to locate and invest," said EDC President Andrew Alper.
Other agencies involved in the program included the departments of Transportation, Parks and Recreation, Sanitation, Probation and Housing Preservation and Development as well as the Human Resource Administration and the New York Police Department, which made 468 arrests for graffiti-related crimes.
The program was also aided by the Home Depot, which has donated 1,500 gallons of paint.
Community groups are urged to take part in the mayor's anti-graffiti initiative. Applications are available from the Community Assistance Unit by calling 311. Each qualifying organization is permitted up to 26 gallons of paint, 26 roller sleeves and 12 roller frames.
Reach reporter Alex Ginsberg by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2003 Community News Group
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