Taking Out the Trash

Badly needed funding for street cleaning is coming to Germantown

Help is on the way to Gtown streets that have been awash in trash for far too long. Not one, not two, but three neighborhood organizations have obtained funding from a citywide initiative to support corridor cleaning and trash removal in busy commercial areas of Germantown.

“It’s a big win for Germantown. There is an immediate and pressing need for clean streets in our main business district”, said Emaleigh Doley, Executive Director of Germantown United CDC (GUCDC). “This initiative is also creating local jobs. GUCDC’s corridor cleaning program will prioritize hiring neighborhood residents for all Cleaning Ambassador positions.”

Thanks to the Commerce Department (and City Council) the program will provide $153,000 a year to GUCDC to maintain corridors in Central Gtown. Additional funding will be provided to two other community based organizations — SoLo/Germantown Civic Association and Trades for A Difference — to clean Lower Gtown, Wayne Junction, Wayne Ave. and areas along Chew Ave. (See attached maps for targeted areas.) “It’s critically important that our main corridors be clean, safe and accessible” said Doley.

The funding for the street cleaning comes from PHL Taking Care of Business (TCB), a $10 million business corridor cleaning program which was part of legislation passed by City Council in November 2019.

The program was proposed by Councilwoman Cherelle Parker and was piloted in the 9th Council district before being expanded citywide. The goal is to help retain and attract businesses and residents, decrease poverty and crime, create a pipeline for employers from both the public and private sectors and expand the City’s tax base.

Cleaning Ambassadors
All Cleaning Ambassadors will earn a $15 hourly wage. The Workforce Training component of the program, created by Councilwoman Parker, was designed to invest in Philadelphia residents and job seekers, specifically those who are often overlooked by employers and have difficulty connecting to employment that pays a living wage. Ambassadors will use push brooms, shovels, hands, trash bags, and other tools and equipment to clean sidewalks, planters and tree pits (among other duties). They’ll also empty public trashcans.

Coverage Areas
A quick overview of all the areas in Germantown that will be cleaned under the TCB program.

Central Germantown
Organization: Germantown United CDC
Cleaning Boundaries:

  • Chelten Ave (Baynton to Morris)
  • Germantown Ave (Coulter to High/Harvey)
  • Greene St (Schoolhouse to Rittenhouse)
  • Wayne Ave (Chelten to Rittenhouse)
  • Maplewood Mall
Central Gtown cleaning zone (maintained by GUCDC)

Lower Germantown Ave. (Wayne Junction & Wayne Ave)
Organization: SoLo/Germantown Civic Association (RCO)
Cleaning Boundaries:

  • Germantown Ave (Coulter to Berkeley)
  • Berkley St (Germantown to Wayne)
  • Wayne Ave (Berkley to Mannheim)
Lower Gtown cleaning zone (maintained by SoLo/Germantown Civic Association)

Chew & Chelten
Organization: Trades for A Difference
Cleaning Boundaries:

  • E Chelten Ave (Musgrave to Bloyd)
  • Chew Ave (Locust to Stafford)

Chew & Washington (Chew & Phil Ellena)
Organization: Trades for A Difference
Cleaning Boundaries (Germantown & Mt. Airy):

  • Chew Ave (Sharpnack to Slocum, E Walnut Lane to E Duval St)
Chew/Chelten cleaning zone (maintained by Trades for a Difference)

Next Steps
As of last month, the specifics of the program were being finalized, with an orientation for participants at the end of August. The rollout for the GUCDC program is expected in the fall, after their contract is fully executed. (Their initial contract is for one year, running through June 30, 2021.) The SOLO and Trades for a Difference rollouts have yet to be announced. Stay tuned for a more detailed action plan by visiting germantownunitedcdc.org.

Get Involved
Hundreds of volunteers have participated in community-driven corridor clean-up efforts this year alone. Here are some things you can do to support clean streets in Germantown.

  • GUCDC is seeking input from community members to help successfully launch their cleaning program. You can access the survey on their website.
  • Express your concern to the businesses you frequent. A clean, orderly and attractive storefront says “welcome!” Feedback from customers should matter. Though we understand the problem is overwhelming, merchants and commercial property owners have a responsibility to maintain their property. Offer recommendations. Ask how you can support their efforts. Talk about the problem.
  • Get free cleaning supplies and host your own cleanup. Did you know that the City’s Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP) loans tools and supplies to volunteers who want to clean their neighborhoods? Submit a supply request form here and organize your own cleanup. Work solo or with a small group to stay safe.
  • When the problem is too big, alert the city. To report a property that is not being maintained or to request graffiti removal, residents can contact CLIP through Philly311. Use the app or call (215) 686-8686.
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