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Main drag in Broad Channel gets an overdue clean up

City Councilman Eric Ulrich (c.) stands with members of the community, the city Sanitation Department and the Doe Fund to begin the cleanup of Cross Bay Boulevard. Photo by Steve Mosco
TimesLedger Newspapers

Like an uninvited guest, Hurricane Sandy left a messy trail for Queens to clean up.

A garbage-strewn stretch of Cross Bay Boulevard, cutting through Broad Channel south of the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge, is getting a sweeping makeover from the Doe Fund, a nonprofit helping formerly homeless men and women return to society.

The clean-up effort, which officially began last week, will beautify 1.2 miles of grassy side road from the foot of the bridge to the American Legion Post 1404 in Broad Channel. Workers, dedicated to the task, will pick up roadside trash and load it into city Sanitation Department trucks.

City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) was on hand with representatives from the Doe Fund and community members to officially commence the cleaning.

“This is a job that is too big for volunteers or a group of Boy Scouts, and also too dangerous,” said Ulrich, as Cross Bay Boulevard traffic buzzed close to the curb. “This is the gateway to one of the country’s greatest estuaries and right now it looks like a dumping ground.”

Ulrich said he reached out to Doe Fund Chairman George McDonald weeks ago, seeking assistance with the clean-up effort.

This is not the Doe Fund’s first foray into cleaning up sections of the city affected by the superstorm’s surge. The organization’s blue-suited workers already have swept through Staten Island, Coney Island and the Rockaways, removing debris that had collected on roadsides in Sandy’s wake.

“We will have nine men working until the job is done,” said McDonald, when asked how long the cleanup would take. “It’s on behalf of all the citizens of New York that we come here and help clean up.”

And the citizens of Broad Channel and the Rockaways need to see a clean stretch of road as they drive onto the peninsula, Ulrich said. The councilman said the area is a source of pride and seeing it cleaned up would mean a lot for morale.

“This is their home and they are still dealing with issues related to Hurricane Sandy,” said Ulrich, who said the late October storm devastated the area. “And these workers are going to help restore pride and dignity to this area.”

The clean-up project is being entirely funded by the Doe Fund, which works to give homeless men and women a second chance by training them for employment and helping them achieve independence and self-sufficiency.

McDonald said the cleanup project is a humanitarian effort rewarding the city and members of the Doe Fund at the same time.

“We are thrilled to be able to give back,” he said. “I know this partnership is going to do great things for this community and I thank Council member Ulrich for thinking of us.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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