Christian Street Block Association
c/o Laura Blanchard,
PMB Block Captain
For immediate release:
City Agencies, Neighborhood Groups Team for South Philadelphia Neighborhood Cleanup September 22
South Philadelphia Block Association, Universal Communities, the City's "Philadelphia More Beautiful" Committee, Managing Director's Office, Area Churches and volunteers target South 20th Street
(Philadelphia, PA, September 21, 2001)--While the Mayor's office and the City Council continue to negotiate on the city's anti-blight initiative, a group of volunteers cutting across all faiths and walks of life is working with two city agencies to clean up neglected streets and vacant lots in the 17th Police Division, with a September 22 cleanup scheduled to focus on South 20th Street from Fitzwater to Snyder Streets.
"This spring and summer, we've already cleaned more than 800 of the more than 3,000 vacant lots in our service area in partnership with Philadelphia More Beautiful and the Managing Director's office," says Wayne Rahman, chairman of the South Philadelphia Block Captains Association and a community outreach officer for Universal Community Homes. "People in our community are tired of seeing trash and weeds on our streets and vacant lots. This is a problem where we can partner with city agencies to make a visible difference in the quality of life right now."
For the September 22 cleanup, block captains and their neighbors will be joined by volunteers from Villanova University, SELF, Inc., and the City of Philadelphia's pre-release program, as well as crews from the Managing Director's Office. While the city crews tackle the lot-cleaning chores that require heavy equipment, volunteers will clean other lots, alleys and streets, with tools and materials provided by the Streets Department's "Philadelphia More Beautiful" initiative. For blocks north of Washington Avenue, volunteers will be able to pick up supplies and refreshments at St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church, 20th and Christian Streets, beginning at 7:00 a.m. South of Washington Avenue, supplies and refreshments will be available at the 17th Police Division station.
The impetus for the formation of the South Philadelphia Block Captains Association came from conversations between Rahman and Philadelphia More Beautiful clean block officer Bill Stern. "Our block captains are the real change agents in our community," says Stern. "We can make their influence much stronger if they have an organization where they can come together to share ideas and work together on multi-block projects." While the association's initial focus is neighborhood cleanup, it plans to extend its activities to embrace other neighborhood concerns. "We're going to go beyond street cleanups into other areas that matter to our neighbors," says Rahman. We want to beautify the lots that aren't going to be developed right away, turning them from eyesores into assets. We want to help with the education of our children, help to strengthen our families, help our senior citizens to live in health and dignity. We see the strong role that our faith-based organizations play in our community and we want to reach out and work in partnership with all of them." The organization, which now has more than 250 block captains involved, is open to block captains, committee people, representatives of organizations, and any others with an interest in the neighborhoods from Broad to the Schuylkill River, and from South Street to Snyder Avenue.
For additional information on the cleanup or on the South Philadelphia Block Association, contact Wayne Rahman, 215-732-6518, or Bill Stern, 215-685-3989.
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2000 Christian Street Block Association