9. Expand robust year-round cleaning support on City-owned plazas (and Open Streets).

DOT Plaza Partners enter agreements with the City agency that require the local organization to provide maintenance services, including daily sweeping, watering of plants, removing stickers and graffiti, and shoveling snow. These maintenance services may also be supplemented by landscaping and cleaning services provided by other citywide partners such as the NY Horticultural Society.

In heavily-trafficked commercial districts, these baseline services are often insufficient to meet the rate of wear-and-tear the plazas undergo. The agreements also require that the maintenance partner is able to fund one part-time staff person annually. While well-resourced BIDs with year-round cleaning services teams roll these plaza maintenance responsibilities into their existing staff work plans, other BIDs and small nonprofit community organizations—particularly those in outer boroughs with limited revenues and staff—must rely on temporary contract cleaning staff.

︎ A User Experience
︎ B Long-Term Coordination
︎ C Inclusive Design
︎ D Collaboration and Communication
︎ E Support commerce and entrepreneurship

︎ Process / Regulatory Framework
︎ Funding
︎ Technical Assistance

“We had to fight tooth and nail. We can’t raise $30k for a maintenance contract. And we can’t let it go into disrepair just because we don’t have the resources.”
Friends of Diversity Plaza

HOW TO IMPLEMENT Building on the existing City Cleanup Corps program, the DOT (as administrators of the plaza program and Open Streets) should expand its hiring of City Cleanup Corps crews. The City Cleanup Corps, established in the pandemic in response to resident complaints of declining sanitation efforts in the public realm, hires and trains staff to manage site cleanup, area maintenance, and graffiti and snow removal in different types of public spaces across the five boroughs. 

By relieving partners of maintenance responsibilities, many CBOs are likely able to dedicate more time and resources to activation and programming of plazas and Open Streets.

THE STORY Myrtle BID currently supports the management of two fully built-out DOT plazas in the commercial district, and has a good long-standing working relationship with the DOT Public Space Unit. As a district located in a CDBG-entitled community, Myrtle BID receives $20,000 annually (as a plaza community partner) to program its plaza on Myrtle Ave. Pre-COVID, the BID has used its additional funding to incorporate music and dance programs and seasonal events over the winter that drive footfall to neighboring businesses and restaurants.

“We are happy with the scenario. It helps supplement the cost of the BID so we can clean and provide general maintenance to the plaza…Both Venditti Square Plaza & 71st Avenue Plaza qualify for Equity Source Funding however, the Myrtle/Cooper Plaza known as Glendale Memorial Triangle in Glendale does not qualify. I would like this plaza to be added to the DOT Equity Source Program.”
Ted Renz, Executive Director, Myrtle BID