Riverdale community deals with rodent trouble

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Riverdale residents are upset after noticing a rat problem in their community.

Those who live near Netherland Avenue say they have a hard time walking down the street without having rodents run by their legs. They say the infestation is right next to an apartment complex and across the street from several restaurants that put their garbage out back for sanitation to pick up.

According to a feature called "Rat Portal" on the Department of Health's website, at least two of those businesses passed a rodent inspection on July 11. However, in previous years the DOH listed active rat signs as the result of several inspections at those businesses.

Residents told News 12 that some of the rats are as big as squirrels and burrow in bushes. They then come out to cross the street and head for the dumpsters.

Business owners in the area told News 12 they believe the problem originated from people dumbing garbage in nearby bushes. They also say they are working with the city's Department of Health and the Department of Sanitation to deal with the situation.

"We have several on staff who are responsible every day to come outside and make sure everything is clean and scrubbed down," said Elisha Block, owner of Riverdale Kosher Market.

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a $32 million project to rid the Grand Concourse area of rats. The plan involves new waste containers, rat pads in NYCHA buildings and more frequent trash pickup.

People living on Netherland Avenue say they now hope the mayor turns his attention to their neighborhood.

The city is currently placing baits in the area to try and control the rats.

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