**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
July 20, 2011
Contact Jonathan Perez at (718) 260-9191
ATLANTIC YARDS RODENT CONTROL MEETING REPORT
This past week, Council Member Letitia James, representatives from City Council Member Steve Levin’s Office, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery’s Office, other community leaders and stakeholders met with ESDC, City agencies and Forest City Ratner Companies (FCR) at an Atlantic Yards Cabinet Meeting in Brooklyn. The meeting’s focus was on rodent infestation, which has become a serious concern in the Atlantic Yards footprint and surrounding community.
Recently, neighbors of Dean Street near the Atlantic Yards project have reported cat-size rats and an uptick in the rat population. Many have expressed concerns about the rodent population’s increase in the neighboring homes and streets surrounding the construction site. A common notion has been that rats have not been a problem until the arena’s construction, while others have referred to it as a “rat tsunami.”
During the meeting, a New York City Department of Health rodent-specialist identified a number of hotspots near the immediate area of the Atlantic Yards property. In response, Forest City Ratner stated they would provide vouchers for the community to purchase special trash cans that could contain and deter rodents. Forest City Ratner agreed to work with Colony, a pest management company, which provides integrated pest management to alleviate the situation through education, outreach, and bait control. The MTA representative in attendance also shared that employees would continue to check rat bait traps every thirty to forty days in subway stations located near Atlantic Yards.
The Department of Sanitation reported that certain recommendations would be made for homeowners in this Prospect Heights area. These include that all garbage in cans be placed on the street at or around 9 p.m. Another recommendation is garbage be put in secured cans (which would be enforced by the Sanitation Department). Forest City Ratner also stated it would lead a new initiative that separates the food waste from the construction garbage on the Atlantic Yards site.
“I appreciate Forest City Ratner’s cooperation, as well as FCR taking action on the rodent control problem. Also, I look forward to starting the process of providing vouchers to residents for steel or rubber trash cans within the next two weeks, as well as educating the public at large about this ongoing problem,” said Council Member James.
Other Prospect Heights’ issues discussed at the meeting include Council Member James’ goal to secure a new dumpster for Engine 219 and Ladder 105 on Dean Street. She also seeks funding for improvement of conditions at the Dean Street playground. Lastly, the abandoned properties near the Atlantic Yards Arena need to be addressed as possible breeding grounds of the rat population.