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Stewart Manor Green Thumb

Former beautification

committee chair seeks return

Stewart Manor residents had beautification on the brain at the village’s most recent board of trustees meeting. Several attendees participated in a friendly airing of grievances to the board about the amount of litter being left in front of some of the shops along Covert Ave and in the parking lots.

Former Village Beautification Committee Chairman Julian Sottovia says that enough is enough, and further steps need to be taken.

“It just looks disgraceful and I think something needs to be done about that,” Sottovia says of the trash he’s had to pick up himself around Stewart Manor.

After serving as chairman of the committee from 2002-08, he recently rejoined but has been dissatisfied with its management. “I think that there’s no direction in terms of what’s going on with the committee. We haven’t had a meeting to welcome the new members,” he lamented.

Emails alerting the committee members of upcoming projects are coming at only a day’s notice and regular meetings are not being held, according to Sottovia. He has put his name forward offering to become chair once again. The position is appointed by Mayor Tangredi. Committee chairs serve one-year terms.

Sottovia is a noted horticulturist whose professional gardens have been featured in the New York Times and whose home garden has been included in five different garden tours held by various organizations. In addition to the litter, he says that rampant, disrespectful dog owners are another major concern of his. The cost of cleaning up after dogs, as well as combating the damage done to his lawn by dog urine is becoming a “real problem.” Sottovia suspects that the dog-owners in question are not Stewart Manor residents but are most likely walking over from Floral Park.

The board responded positively to Sottovia’s request that a new ‘Curb Your Dog’ sign be installed on a pole outside his house.  

Several bricks have also been missing from the sidewalk around the fire hydrant outside of Chase Bank. The water authority allegedly removed the bricks over a year ago and has since left the area in a state that several residents have found unseemly. The board claims to have gotten in touch with the Water Authority at least twice in the past about returning the bricks but received no response.

Some of the larger trees in the village have been causing the sidewalks to buckle. Resident Gerry DeLeo is concerned at the tripping hazard such bumps may pose and asked whether or not the Board could do anything about them. Standard procedure would be to rip up the sidewalk slab and cut back the tree’s root system so that the sidewalk can be made level again. The responsibility of repairing the sidewalks and replacing the cement slab ultimately falls on the residents whose properties the trees are on, but Mayor Tangredi says the issue is more complicated than that.

“The trees are so large and old now that if you cut the roots they’ll go down in the first storm. We still haven’t figured out a way of cutting the roots without harming the tree,” Tangredi says. Safety from downed trees is a concern first and foremost after the events of recent superstorms when downed trees damaging power lines left significant portions of Garden City without electricity.

The board was amendable to many of the residents’ suggestions and promised to look into ways to hold the store owners more accountable for the garbage being left on their properties.