June 29, 2014 By Christian Murray
Sunnyside Shines, which introduced a program earlier this year to help business owners cover the cost of replacing graffiti-prone front gates, announced Friday that a local restaurant owner received a $500 grant to make the change.
I Love Paraguay, which is located at 43-16 Greenpoint Avenue, was the first Sunnyside business to receive the grant money, which was put on offer as part of a pilot program that was launched in February.
The program was introduced in an effort by Sunnyside Shines to help businesses come into compliance with new security gate regulations and to improve the look of neighborhood storefronts.
Transparent gates, according to Sunnyside Shines, contribute to a safer-feeling neighborhood during evening hours and allow window shoppers to browse even when businesses are closed.
Importantly, transparent gates also discourage graffiti by reducing the surface area available to vandals, according to Rachel Thieme, the executive director of Sunnyside Shines.
The gate replacement grant program provides a 50% reimbursement, up to $1,000, for Sunnyside businesses to replace their full metal security gates with a new gate that is at least 70% transparent. By 2026, all businesses must install security gates that meet this standard.
“We wanted to provide an incentive for local businesses to come into compliance with the new regulations, as well as to contribute to a safer-looking neighborhood,” Thieme said. “We are glad that I Love Paraguay took us up on our offer and we hope to expand the program to more businesses in future years.”
Fabricio Ojeda, owner of I Love Paraguay, said, “We’re very happy with the new gate. When we close for the day people can still see the restaurant. Having an open gate looks better in the neighborhood and is good for business.”
Sunnyside Shines plans to make further grants to local businesses.
Businesses interested in taking advantage of the program should call Sunnyside Shines at (718) 606-1800.