PHILADELPHIA, PA – Councilwoman Cherelle Parker today introduced legislation that will create up to 300 jobs for local residents and provide for regularly scheduled cleaning on business corridors citywide.
The proposed program, PHL Taking Care of Business (PHL~TCB), will reduce blight and litter, help retain and attract businesses and residents, stimulate job creation/training and decrease poverty and crime. It will also create a pipeline for employers from both the public and private sectors and expand the City’s tax base. The proposal is based on a program currently operating on 10 business corridors in the 9th Council District.
“Strengthening and building our commercial corridors, which are the lifeblood of communities throughout my district and across the city, is essential to stabilizing our neighborhoods,” Parker said. “Supporting small businesses, stimulating job creation/training and reducing blight are also proven methods for decreasing poverty and crime. By addressing these issues simultaneously, I strongly believe this program will significantly improve the quality of life in neighborhoods across the city.”
For Fiscal Year 2020, PHL~TCB will cost roughly $10 million. Some of the costs will be one-time or intermittently occurring costs, such as those for materials and supplies, but most costs will be annual. The funding will come from a transfer ordinance to the Commerce Department, but the funds will not be transferred from other departments; instead, they will come from the City’s fund balance, which is projected to exceed $200 million by the end of this fiscal year. The funding can be supplemented by state government funding and private sector funding.
Once approved, the funding will pay for 30 on-the-job trainees for each Council District and the costs for running the program on a day-to-day basis. While the initial funding source will be City dollars, this will not be a City program, and the on-the-job trainees will not be City employees. The funding will flow from the Commerce Department to a third-party entity – Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) – who will issue RFPs and/or contract with CDCs and other neighborhood-based organizations who will manage the program on several business corridors.
Here’s what people are saying about PHL~TCB:
Council President Darrell L. Clarke, co-sponsor: “Councilmember Cherelle Parker’s ‘PHL Taking Care of Business’ program to clean and beautify neighborhood commercial corridors across Philadelphia is an excellent idea. Our neighborhood business districts are economic lifebloods across our city. From Strawberry Mansion to West Philly, from North and Northeast Philly to Roxborough, neighborhood businesses employ local residents and give citizens a place to shop and buy right where they live. This program will pay workers a living wage and introduce them to workforce training that can lead to other professional opportunities and jobs. I strongly support PHL Taking Care of Business.”
Beth McConnell, policy Director of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations: “Every corner of Philadelphia deserves clean, safe, attractive commercial corridors to support businesses, shoppers, and residents. For too long, our limited resources only supported cleaning on a fraction of business corridors throughout the city. PACDC applauds Councilwoman Parker’s leadership in advocating for resources that would boost cleaning by five-fold across every Council district of Philadelphia. This proposal would not only create 300 jobs across the city, but many more as a result of having cleaner, safer, more attractive places to shop and do business.”
Geneva Church, resident: “I’ve lived within walking distance of the Broad and Olney business corridor for over 40 years, and I am very familiar with the challenges. Once this cleaning program started, I noticed an immediate change in how the corridor looks. It’s much, much cleaner and looks a lot nicer than it did just a few months ago. I believe seeing the men and women cleaning also encourages transit riders and residents to put trash in the trash cans. I hope this cleaning program continues because it is good for this entire community.”
Frank Huynh, resident: “Living on a busy street with lots of businesses, you always see trash on the street. Ever since the 9th District street cleaning team started, you definitely see a difference. I believe neighbors see the difference too. People walk around prouder and are more likely to speak up when they see people throwing trash on the ground. Thank you, Councilwoman Parker, for caring.”
Ken Weinstein, chair of Mt. Airy Business Improvement District and president of Philly Office Retail: “Paying local people to clean their own community. Now that’s a great idea! Putting neighbors to work will result in stronger commercial corridors throughout our City.”
Ryan N. Boyer, president, Philadelphia Building Trades Union: “Councilwoman Parker’s ‘PHL Taking Care of Business’ initiative is an innovative approach to reducing blight in our business districts and providing a hand up – not a hand out – to local residents by offering them a job with a living wage. It will benefit businesses, residents and the City.”
Gabe Morgan, vice president of 32BJ SEIU: “As a union representing thousands of Philadelphians, we know that the best anti-poverty program is good jobs. We support the PHL~TCB program’s goals to provide valuable job experience while making the city a cleaner, healthier place for our members and their families.”
Bilal Qayyum, president, Father’s Day Rally Committee: “Twelve years ago, I walked to Harrisburg under the banner of ‘Jobs Not Guns,’ promoting jobs as a solution to violence. Councilwoman Parker’s ‘PHL Taking Care of Business’ initiative is a big step to providing jobs to those most in need. Give a person work and it gives them dignity and the feeling of self-worth in their lives.”
State Sen. Vincent Hughes, Democratic Appropriations Chair: “I commend Councilwoman Parker for the commercial corridor cleanup initiative she is proposing as part of the solution to improve neighborhoods across the city of Philadelphia. I proudly support the work she is doing and look forward to working with her, other elected officials, our labor unions, small businesses, and private sector partners to tackle our city’s litter and blight issue together, while also providing folks with jobs that pay a living wage and a pipeline to other future employment opportunities.”
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, co-sponsor: “No matter where they live, Philadelphians deserve clean, vibrant commercial corridors. They’re a place for the neighborhood to shop, work, meet, and enjoy. It’s a win-win to get there by putting people to work at a living wage.”
Michael Rashid, owner, MECCA Childcare Academy: “As a business owner, I can say from personal experience that cleanup programs like Councilwoman Parker’s are win-wins for everyone. Clean corridors improve business, make the area safer, and provide much needed jobs for local residents.”
Todd Carmichael, CEO and co-founder, La Colombe Coffee: “I love Cherelle’s ‘PHL Taking Care of Business’ program. She proves once again that good policy is both pro-business by supporting existing small businesses, and pro-workers by ensuring that everyone earns a living wage. This is exactly the type of legislation that will help businesses in Philadelphia succeed, and I look forward to doing everything I can to ensure its success.”
Joann Bell, co-founder, Black Women’s Leadership Council of Philadelphia: “Black Women’s Leadership Council of Philadelphia enthusiastically supports the transfer ordinance to provide funding for the ‘PHL Taking Care of Business’ program introduced by Councilwoman Cherelle Parker and co-sponsored by Council President Clarke and Councilman Johnson. The survival of our neighborhoods depend on strong, viable, safe, clean and accessible business corridors. Local small businesses are the economic engine of Philadelphia – a city of neighborhoods.”
Rob Wonderling, president and CEO of The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia: “The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia along with our many neighborhood job growth partner organizations applaud Councilwoman Parker for her leadership on this important job creation initiative. Creating safe, clean, and welcoming commercial corridors is essential if we are going to stem the tide of neighborhood job decline in the City of Philadelphia. Councilwoman Parker’s initiative has proven to be successful in her Council district. We now look forward to working with the Councilwoman and her colleagues to advance this program in commercial corridors throughout the city.”
Steven Bradley, chair, African American Chamber of Commerce: “On behalf of the African American Chamber of Commerce, I commend Councilwoman Parker for her thought leadership, and continued commitment to Philadelphia. PHL ‘Taking Care of Business’ will create living wage jobs, while simultaneously revitalizing Philadelphia’s neighborhood business corridors. This initiative will benefit African American businesses throughout the city. We look forward to working with Councilwoman Parker on this initiative, and promoting neighborhood economic growth throughout Philadelphia.”
Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker represents the 9th District, which includes East Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane, East Oak Lane, Lawncrest, Burholme, Olney, Oxford Circle and Logan. She is Chair of Council’s Committee on Labor and Civil Service and Vice Chair of Council’s Committee on Commerce and Economic Development.