Bensonhurst Alliance to give neighborhood a clean sweep

Volunteers sought for Community Day of Action

May 11, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Community Board 11 Chairman Bill Guarinello and District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia are the founders of the Bensonhurst Alliance. Eagle photos by Paula Katinas
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A large swath of Bensonhurst will be getting a spring cleaning as a group of volunteers armed with brooms and shovels descends onto Bath Avenue to sweep away litter and wipe away graffiti.

A major cleanup campaign, called the Community Day of Action, has been set for Sunday, May 21. It is the first major project undertaken by the Bensonhurst Alliance, a nonprofit group founded by Community Board 11 Chairman Bill Guarinello and District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia.

The cleanup will take place along a half-mile stretch of Bath Avenue, from 15th Avenue to Bay Parkway. The alliance is asking volunteers to meet outside the 62nd Precinct station house at 1925 Bath Ave. at 11 a.m. that day.

The goal of the Bensonhurst Alliance is to bring residents of different nationalities together to work on common goals, according to Elias-Pavia.

“We’re hoping a lot of volunteers come out and join us for our cleanup. We’ll be sweeping away litter, removing trash and taking posters off of lampposts. We feel it’s a good way to build pride in our neighborhood,” Elias-Pavia told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Elias-Pavia and Guarinello decided to form the Alliance several months ago to bring together the diverse ethnic communities within Board 11.

“We wanted to know, ‘How can we get a cross-section of the community together? If we ever had an incident, how would we handle it?’ We formed a group and we are working on our mission statement,” Guarinello told the Eagle at the time.

Board 11 represents the residents of Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Mapleton and parts of Gravesend. Guarinello has served as chairman for more than 20 years. Elias-Pavia has held the job of district manager for more than a decade.

Asians are the fastest-growing population in Board 11, according to the 2010 U.S. census. The board’s neighborhoods used to be home to large numbers of Italian-Americans. But these days, new immigrant groups are moving in and making the area their home. Census figures show that 50 percent of Board 11’s population is white, 35 percent is Asian, 13 percent is Hispanic and 1 percent is black.

The area is home to many immigrants from Russian and Poland.

With a large and diverse population, there are a multitude of issues Guarinello and Elias-Pavia deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Litter and trash are among the problems, Elias-Pavia said. Residents often place their household trash in litter baskets in violation of the city’s sanitation code. To try and combat the problem, Elias-Pavia sent out thousands of informational sheets to residents to inform them of the sanitation rules.

For more information on the Community Day of Action, call Board 11 at 718-266-8800.


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