PHILADELPHIA – April 17 – Councilwoman Cindy Bass launched the 8th District Action Team, an on-the-ground task force, to expedite community reporting of various violations including trash and dumping, illegal construction, nuisance business, vacant properties and lots, and more. The Action Team started surveying neighborhoods in the 8th District at the end of January.
Recently, the Action Team worked with community members and City departments to clean up a short dumping hot spot at Collom Street.
“We’re taking our neighborhoods back from bad actors who want to take advantage of our communities. Neighbors work diligently to call in complaints about a variety of issues, but there are many residents who don’t know exactly who to call for certain things,” Councilwoman Bass said. “The 8th District Action Team takes the confusion out of reporting violations, sending complaints directly to the proper City departments and conducting follow-up on behalf of constituents.”
Members of the action team travel to various neighborhoods and corridors in the 8th District to identify violations. After creating their own reports, members send the reports and photos to Councilwoman Bass’ office employees, 311 or another appropriate City agency. In addition to random community sweeps, the action team deploys to specific properties based on constituent calls to Bass’ office in real-time.
Neighborhoods around Philadelphia have long been plagued with trash and illegal dumping, property violations and streets issues. The 8th District Action Team offers one more solution to these quality of life issues, deploying knowledgeable ground-workers to record and report violations that may slip through the cracks. Team members also provide more face-to-face contacts for constituents to reach out to when they encounter potential violations.
“This is one more way to streamline the process when it comes to reporting neighborhood issues,” Councilwoman Bass said. “For issues like dumping and illegal construction that are so common in our neighborhoods, it’s important to stay on top of the problem, to make sure violations aren’t being overlooked, and just to have one more mechanism to address issues in a big and diverse district.”
Since being deployed in late January, the team has logged 140 complaints and violations to the appropriate departments, including zoning violations and dangerous building cases to the Department of Licenses and Inspections. The team jump-started several Community Life Improvement vacant lot clean-ups in the 8th District and has submitted nearly 50 illegal dumping cases.
“There are so many illegal construction sites that go under the radar,” said Action Team member Keyion Holmes. “It’s sad but it’s something that we see too often—mountains of trash and tires dumped throughout the District. Since the action team has started, many people have reached out and shown appreciation for what we do. There’s something about actually going to these neighborhoods and talking to people face to face.”
Bass’ Action Team is just part of a multi-pronged effort from the Councilwoman’s office to address quality of life issues. Bass’ 8th District Trash Task Force is comprised of community members and office staff, convenes monthly, and will recommend policy-based solution to issues like illegal dumping and litter.
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Councilwoman Cindy Bass represents the 8th Council District, which includes Germantown, Mt. Airy, Nicetown, Tioga, Chestnut Hill, portions of Logan, and West Oak Lane. She is Chair of Council’s committees on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and Public Health and Human Services.