Clean Up SoHo

 Dear SoHo, 

- Clean Up SoHo = Help Is On the Way
- Fr. Fagan Square Restoration = If Something Can Go Wrong, It Will Go Wrong
 
Clean Up SoHo = Help Is On the Way
Due to a major shortfall in funding, ACE, the nonprofit that had swept SoHo sidewalks for over twenty years, announced last October that it was ceasing most of its operation here.
 
The SoHo Alliance (and ACE) sent out a call for funding, but nowhere near enough money was pledged to cover the cleaning services, which run well into six figures annually.  
 
Clean Up SoHo, an ad hoc group of community activists and corporate sponsors formed to directly address the problem. This week, after much organizing, research and lobbying, the group announced the successful culmination of its efforts.
 
First, Clean Up SoHo was able to procure substantial funding from the city council to hire another non-profit, Wildcat, to provide several months of street-cleaning service — as well as obtaining city council funding to purchase several high-capacity trash baskets.  
 
Moreover, the lessee of the tiny parking lot on Thompson and Broome has graciously agreed to let us place a garden shed on his property to store the cleaning equipment overnight.  We expect sweeping to begin in time for the holiday season.
 
Clean Up SoHo has also partnered with several individuals, one co-op and multiple corporate sponsors to purchase 22 high-capacity trash baskets to be placed at highly trafficked intersections.  Other sponsors are expected to sign on.    
 
What can you do?   We ask condos and co-op boards to sponsor a trash basket.  Better, pledge funds to continue to pay for the cleaning services.  City council funding will only last a few months.  If we cannot continue to fund Wildcat, like ACE it too will be forced to discontinue cleaning our streets — and we will revert back to dirty sidewalks and overflowing trash cans.
 
Ask your building's store or management company if it can sponsor a basket. It costs about $1,500 and there will be a plaque on each basket acknowledging the gift.  Alternately, individuals can independently pledge a contribution to sweep our streets.  Several already have.  A tax-deductible non-profit has been established to accept your contributions.
 
Many people have contacted us over the past year about the dreadful state of our sidewalks and trash baskets.  Now we can rectify the problem.  But we cannot do it without your help.  Please place a proposal on your building's agenda to establish permanent funding to continue this project or donate directly yourself.
 
Let us not squander this singular opportunity!
 

- Fr. Fagan Square Restoration = If Something Can Go Wrong, It Will Go Wrong
Over six years ago the city council allocated money to renovate Father Fagan Square, the vest-pocket park at Prince Street and Sixth Avenue.  
 
It took several years for the funds to be dispensed and the design to be approved.  Another couple of years were misspent when a dispute arose between the Parks and Transportation Departments regarding which agency would be responsible to repair the park should a water main burst underneath it.
 
Meanwhile, neighborhood activists took it upon themselves to plant flowers and maintain the park area.  Nice to see this type of volunteer community activity.
 
Restoration finally began this summer.  However, a new problem arose.  
 
The Charlton Street Block Association has informed us that the alignment of the concrete laid down inside the park was not even with the existing sidewalk on the east side of the park.  The resulting one-inch differential created a tripping hazard.  However, the money to lay a new sidewalk in alignment with the surface of the park is not in the construction budget.  So another impasse has arisen.  
 
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