News from Fedcap

Fedcap Teams Up With New York City Council Member James Vacca To Improve The 13th District

Council Member James Vacca with NIP workers.For years, residents of Morris Park tried to get unsightly graffiti removed from their apartment building at 1541-51 Williamsbridge Road. Finally, on July 28th, the happy tenants watched as the graffiti was power-washed off their building by employees of Wildcat’s Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP). Wildcat is a division of Fedcap.

The services provided by NIP enhance the quality of life in NYC’s districts, and also provide a valuable training experience for NIP employees as they work towards sustainable employment, long-term employment 

 “One of the goals of the program is to build enough jobs skills to make people self-sufficient,” said Mario LaRosa, manager of operations for Fedcap.  “A lot of our program participants have really improved their lives.”

Council Member James Vacca, who represents the 13th District, funds the neighborhood cleanup and beautification services provided by Fedcap. The services – which include trash and graffiti removal, landscaping, street cleaning, pest management, snow removal and more - are greatly appreciated by residents, who in the case of 1541-51 Williamsbridge Road had been waiting a long time for the landlord to remove the graffiti, to no avail.  

NIP workers power washing in District 13.“It takes the management two to three years to get around to doing something, and when they do, they just paint over with any color that is available,” Paulette Sorg, leader of the building’s tenant association told the Bronx Times

David Saturn, director of facilities for Wildcat, said that Fedcap has been working with New York City Council members for over five years, and that 2015 is shaping up to be the busiest year yet, with NIP projects undertaken in at least six of the City’s council districts. 

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of Council Member Vacca and others in the City Council to improve the quality of life in their districts,” he said. “At the same time, these efforts provide NIP participants with the opportunity to work.” 

Fedcap and Council Member Vacca have also partnered to clean up properties at McOwen Avenue, Van Nest Avenue, the corner of East 197th Street and Hutchinson River Parkway East, the corner of Continental Avenue and Pelham Parkway South, Pennyfield Avenue, Throgs Neck Expressway and Schley Avenue. Working with the NYC Department of Sanitation, Fedcap crews removed close to 150 bags of garbage and weeds from the six properties.

NIP workers cleaning the street in District 13.The crews also cleaned up an abandoned property at 3011 Schley Avenue, which since 2010 had cause neighbors to complain about bad odors and flooding at the property.

Neighbors are very happy with the cleanup effort and are hoping for it to continue, said Lynn Gerbino, president of the Throgs Neck Home Owners Association.  “Hopefully we can continue to move forward with this effort,” she said. “Flooding is a major issue with the neighbors because they have a lot of issues with mosquitoes.” 

On the same day as the cleanup in Morris Park, a Fedcap crew was cutting grass, removing weeds, and cleaning a two-story building at 1515 Waring Avenue in Pelham Gardens that had once served as a doctor’s office but is now in foreclosure. The effort underscored the problem of neglected foreclosed properties in the 13th District and throughout the city, and served as a backdrop for an APRIL press conference called by Senator Jeffrey Klein (D), 34th Senate District, to call attention to the problem. 

“Cleaning up our neighborhoods and ensuring they remain a safe place to live and raise a family is critically important and that’s why I sponsored legislation in the state Senate aimed at stemming the tide of abandoned homes and holding lenders responsible for maintaining properties,” Klein told reporters.  

“We try to keep a high standard for properties in our communities,” Councilman Vacca told the Bronx Times. “The grounds at 1515 Waring Avenue were not being maintained at all and rather than wait, we decided to take action. Neighbors should not have to live next to an eyesore like this.”