– Street Cleaning Begins

– Street Cleaning Begins

– $60,000 Council Grant Secured
– 32+ New Litter Baskets Purchased
– Clean Up SoHo Announces Launch Party, Sunday, December 10
Dear Beat,
We are pleased to announce that street-cleaning services have returned to SoHo after a year’s hiatus.  Additionally, dozens of new, improved, extra-capacity litter baskets will be appearing next week on a corner near you – all thanks to independent community activism.
When ACE stopped sweeping our sidewalks last November, a grassroots group of residents and businesses, Clean Up SoHo, formed to restore the services we had come to expect.
Although many people were involved in this effort, special kudos must go to Dianne Mendez of SoHo Salon and to Danielle Nazinitsky of Soho Strut. Working with the SoHo Alliance, we have achieved a first for New York City – a community improvement district instead of the usual unwieldy Business Improvement District (BID) model.
First, Clean Uo SoHo launched an education campaign to encourage stores and buildings to sweep their sidewalks regularly, as required by law.  The Department of Sanitation is beginning to issue violations to offenders.
Next we secured initial financial pledges from several individuals, coops, condos, and retail spaces.
However, our real achievement came with a $60,000 grant from the New York City Council via the office of Councilmember Margaret Chin.  We are very grateful for the councilmember’s assistance in funding our clean-up efforts.  SoHo generates incredible revenue for the city in the form of sales and real-estate taxes.  It is gratifying to see some of it come back our way.
Councilmember Corey Johnson, whose district extends westwards from the west side of Thompson Street, also secured council funds to purchase several oversized litter baskets for Prince and Spring Streets, as well as paying for street cleaning at Father Fagan Square on Sixth Avenue. (Incidentally, the park is undergoing restoration which is expected to be completed by January.)
With the $60,000 from Councilmember Chin on hand, Clean Uo SoHo interviewed several non-profit cleaning services.  We selected Wildcat, a 501-c3 nonprofit that provides job opportunities, vocational training, and other resources for struggling New Yorkers seeking to become economically independent.  Incidentally, Wildcat’s estimate was a fraction of ACE’s proposal.
Wildcat began emptying and bagging our litter baskets in early November and you will see its workers in their green overalls, as well as its green plastic bags lining our corner trash bins. Services extend from Mercer Street to Thompson Street, Houston to Canal.
Furthermore, Clean Up SoHo launched a campaign to purchase dozens of oversized litter baskets for our street corners, the sturdy green ones often found in business improvement districts, replacing the flimsy mesh baskets that the city provides.
Over a dozen folk responded and we are delighted to announce that the first batch of eighteen baskets has been approved by the Sanitation Department with a second batch of ten awaiting approval.  The first batch will arrive the first week of December.
First Batch of 18 – Approved by DSNY and Ordered
  1. CBRE – 2 Baskets
  2. Goldman Properties – 1 Basket
  3. 60 Guilders – 6 Baskets
  4. Premier Equities & SoHo Alliance – 8 Baskets
  5. Bloomingdale’s – 1 Basket
Second Batch of 10 – Submitted to DSNY for Approval
  1. Art & Lynn Schnitzer – 1 Basket
  2. Wooster House – 1 Basket
  3. ASB Real Estate – 1 Basket
  4. Greene Street Holding – 1 Basket
  5. 35 Wooster Street – 1 Basket
  6. Joan & Marc Sherman – 2 Baskets
  7. 210 Lafayette – 2 Baskets
  8. 456-8 Broome Street – 1 Basket
Third Batch of 4 – Sponsorship Submitted
  1. 515 Broadway Corp. – 2 Baskets
  2. Elyssa Ackerman – 2 Baskets
A half dozen other individuals and businesses have also expressed interest in sponsorship.
If you, your building or your business would like information on how to sponsor a basket, please email info@sohoalliance.org.  The cost is $1,500 and the basket will have a plaque with the name of the sponsor and a message encouraging a clean SoHo.
Continued Fundraising Required
However, the city council’s $60,000 will only pay for a few months of cleaning service. Now that we have set up the machinery, we strongly urge you or your building to contribute to Clean Up SoHo.
People have asked what is an appropriate amount.   It depends, but we suggest a Dollar-A-Day from each individual or unit, or $365 a year.  So a ten-unit building might decide to give $3650 annually, which is tax-deductible. But whatever can be afforded is welcomed.
Our goal is to have 100 new, oversized litter baskets in SoHo and an annual fundraising campaign of $100,000 for supplemental street cleaning!
There is talk afoot to create a Business Improvement District (BID) for SoHo. That would be terrible. Not only would it give undue influence to its small board of directors, it could result in increased property taxes up to $10 million dollars.
The BID on Broadway has requested a budget increase to $900,000 annually.  That’s just for Broadway.  Multiply that amount by the other dozen or so streets that comprise SoHo and you get an approximate $10 million dollar property tax increase to pay not only for street-cleaning but also for the salaries of the BID employees and its offices.
Considering the increased number of empty stores and pop-ups, can SoHo retail and property owners afford the kind of tax burden BIDs create?  Do residents want to cede power to a corporate structure most of whose members do not live here or care for residents’ concerns?
A tax-deductible contribution to Clean Up SoHo now may save you a lot more in taxes later on, while keeping our neighborhood a desirable place to live and work.
To contribute, please contact danielle@sohostrut.com and/or info@sohoalliance.org
Finally, Clean Up SoHo Announces a Launch Party. The festive event is scheduled for Sunday, December 10 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at Ray Ban, 116 Wooster Street.  Local residents, business owners and stakeholders are invited for the open house to learn more about the project and to continue our momentum. Tickets are free but you must RSVP to CleanUpSoho.Eventbrite.com
Regards,
Sean Sweeney
Director
SoHo Alliance
PO Box 429
New York, NY 10012

SoHo Alliance is non-partisan

SoHo Alliance is non-partisan. That is why our members are supporting Christopher Marte for City Council on the Independence Party line this Tuesday, November 7.
Background:
In the September Democratic primary election, 54% of Democratic voters soundly rejected Margret Chin.  She received just 48% of the Democratic vote, with Marte coming in a close second at 46% – a mere 222 vote difference out of 11,000 cast.  Two other anti-Chin candidates drained the remaining 10% anti-Chin vote.
But fate was with us.  On the Independence Party line, Chin received five write-in votes but Marte received six!  This stroke of fortune secured Marte a ballot line in the Tuesday election.  It also gives us a second chance to vote Chin out and to vote in this fresh, energetic and unbought candidate.
So ANY voter, regardless of party registration, can vote for Christopher Marte on Tuesday.  If Democrats or Republican partisans feel uncomfortable about voting on a third-party line, they can always write in Marte’s name on the blank line.
Both local Reform political clubs, the Downtown Independent Democrats and the Village Reform Democrats, have endorsed Marte, since Democratic voters clearly don’t want Chin.  Marte has also been endorsed by the Asian-American Democratic Club and the Stonewall Vets Democratic Club.
So Chin is running scared.  So scared, she has aligned herself with a one-man political show from Chelsea, far outside our district.  This operative is noted for his smear tactics, dirty tricks and pay-for-play culture.  Chin’s Chelsea operative has mailed flyers to SoHo voters with absurdist claims that a vote for Christopher Marte on the Independence line is akin to a vote for Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani.  Ignore him. Yes indeed, Chin is running scared.
Turnout in the 2013 mayoral election was 24%. This year it is expected to be significantly lower.  Turnout was only about 11% in the September primary.  So YOUR VOTE Tuesday can count tremendously for SoHo.  Polls are open from 6am to 9pm.  For information on Christopher Marte, visit http://www.martenyc.com
If you cannot vote on Tuesday, you can vote absentee on Monday, November 6 at the Board of Elections office on 200 Varick Street just south of Houston Street.  Bring ID.
If unsure of your polling place, visit https://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search
Regards,
Sean Sweeney
Executive Director
SoHo Alliance
PO Box 429
New York, NY 10012