By Ayana Jones
PHILADELPHIA — Neighborhoods across Philadelphia are slated to benefit from a $10 million investment in cleaning the city’s commercial corridors.
The new PHL Taking Care of Business program, spearheaded by City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, aims to reducing blight and litter, create up to 300 jobs for local residents and provide regular cleaning of the city’s commercial corridors. The initiative is modeled after a pilot project that is operating on 10 corridors in the 9th Council District.
“This new investment will have a big impact on neighborhoods all across our city by providing businesses and neighborhoods beyond Center City with the resources they need to succeed and to thrive,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.
“Reducing blight not only makes our city more beautiful but it helps small businesses — especially minority and women-owned businesses — attract shoppers and employees. When small businesses succeed, our economy grows stronger.”
Kenney said the program will provide diverse, small businesses with the opportunity to grow in Philadelphia and bring more quality jobs and training opportunities to the community.
“We are committed to building a strong workforce and job market that will in turn help us attack poverty and crime to ensure inclusive growth across the city,” he added.
The new city investment will pay for 30 part-time jobs in every Council District at a wage of $15 an hour.
During the press conference, Chrissy Wooten, an employee of TWB Cleaning Contractors, spoke about her work in cleaning the city’s commercial corridors.
“This program gave me the chance that I needed to display my strong work ethic and leadership skills,” said Wooten, who was promoted to a supervisory position after two months of working for TWB Cleaning.
“This opportunity has instilled in me a greater sense of gratitude, appreciation and pride. My teammates and I are very efficient and dedicated to cleaning and maintaining the beautification of the neighborhoods we live in and love so much.”
The Rev. Alyn E. Waller, pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, was on hand to hail the new cleaning initiative.
“This really is an initiative that is about our children,” he said.
“It matters what type of street a child walks on. It matters what the context is for children as they walk through streets — as they play. Having clean streets, having a partnership in a private and public way that says we care about our context, sends a real message to our children. It sends a real message to those who will come into our community.”
Ayana Jones is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.