Sunnyside, NY, June 27, 2014 – A local Paraguayan restaurant in Sunnyside, I Love Paraguay, is the first recipient of a gate replacement grant program offered to local businesses from the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District.
I Love Paraguay applied to the gate replacement grant program, which launched as a pilot program in February 2014, 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 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. Sunnyside Shines removed 250 instances of graffiti from gates and storefronts during the 2013-2014 fiscal year, through a monthly graffiti removal effort funded by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.
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, 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,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “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 hopes to build off of the success of this pilot program by continuing to make gate replacement grants to local businesses during the next fiscal year. Businesses interested in participating are invited to contact Sunnyside Shines for additional information.