Today’s news:

City Island shopping strip to get cameras

City Island Avenue will soon be getting security cameras as part of a state grant to help deter vandalism.

The installation of security cameras along City Island Avenue’s shopping strip from the City Island Bridge to Belden Point, and possibly also on some secondary streets, is being planned for the summer, with installation taking six to 10 weeks.

The project is being pushed forward by the City Island Chamber of Commerce, which has been working in conjunction with the City Island Civic Association on getting the cameras that will be turned on only at night to deter vandalism, a recurring problem for City Island businesses.

Senator Jeff Klein has been working on getting the cameras since 2008, and has secured a grant for $100,000 worth of equipment in the state budget. Since then, the City Island Chamber of Commerce has crafted the proposals for the funds to be released. They already obtained the necessary waivers from property and businesses owners along the commercial corridor.

“I am pleased that the City Island Camera Project is just steps away to becoming a reality,” Klein said. “City Island Chamber of Commerce President Skip Giacco has chosen a vendor for the project, using the funding we were able to secure, and I am confident that these cameras will bring peace-of-mind for many residents and ensure we keep City Island a safe and pleasant place to live.”

CICC president Gerard Skip Giacco said the wanted to take full advantage of grant money available to help both island business owners and the residents have a greater sense of security in uncertain times.

“The people living on the island, in addition to the businesspeople, have had to put up with graffiti, dirt and grime, and minor crime,” Giacco said. “I have spoken with other organizations and municipalities who have done this, and they have said that there is a significant reduction in vandalism.”

The grant from Senator Klein should be released from Albany shortly, said Barbara Dolensek, of the City Island Civic Association.

“There is no ‘big brother’ aspect to this security camera program,” Dolensek said. “No one is going to be reviewing the tapes unless a crime occurs. The tapes will be kept for 60 days.”

The camera,s which the chamber plans to install, are “pretty indestructible,” Dolensek said, and the locations for the cameras were scouted by Klein’s office, City Island Chamber of Commerce members, as well as by members of the CICA, in 2010.

The City Island Chamber of Commerce has selected vendor SiSoft Communications to install approximately 15 Mobotix cameras on a system platform that is expandable, Giacco said.

“Hopefully, as time goes by, individual block associations will be able to build on this expanded system by purchasing their own cameras,” said CICA president Bill Stanton.

A $14,000 grant from Congressman Joseph Crowley, which was given to the City Island Civic Association several years ago for cameras but was never used, might also be added to the project.

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