PHILADELPHIA, PA, November 22, 2019 – Council on Thursday voted to approve a bold $10 million investment in a citywide business corridor cleaning program proposed by Councilwoman Cherelle Parker that will create up to 300 jobs for local residents and reduce blight and litter.
The funding for the program was approved as part of Bill No. 190857, the FY19 Year-End Transfer Ordinance. The program, PHL Taking Care of Business (PHL~TCB), is based on a pilot currently operating on 10 business corridors in the 9th Council District. By expanding the program citywide, it will 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.
“Strengthening our commercial corridors, which are the lifeblood of communities throughout my district and across the city, is essential to stabilizing our neighborhoods,” Parker said. “PHL Taking Care of Business will help ensure that every business corridor in the city, regardless of size or neighborhood, will be clean and attractive, allowing the businesses to focus more time on growing their enterprise. It will also help to change that awful characterization of our city as ‘Filthadelphia.’”
“The PHL Taking Care of Business program proposed and piloted by Councilwoman Parker provides an excellent opportunity to invest in both our neighborhoods and our residents,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “By reducing blight and litter on commercial corridors, we can help small businesses attract more shoppers and employees; and we know that when small businesses succeed, our economy grows stronger. One of the most exciting aspects of PHL~TCB is that the program will prioritize contracting with diverse businesses and hiring local residents to complete work in their own community. Our administration is committed to building a Philadelphia that works for all, and this delivery of additional resources to neighborhoods in all corners of our city will bring us closer to achieving that goal.”
Council President Darrell L. Clarke, co-sponsor of the original legislation, added: “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.”
Crystal Brown, of the family-owned Gilben’s Bakery in Mt. Airy, described the difference they have seen as a result of the pilot program in the 9th District.
“We immediately noticed the huge difference in the corridor,” Brown said. “There was no more trash in the streets and sidewalks, and in fact, I noticed people are becoming more conscious of how they dispose of their trash and keeping the area clean by not littering. This program is restoring pride and dignity to our business corridor as well as the neighborhood.”
For FY20, 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 $10 million from the transfer ordinance will be transferred to the Commerce Department. The funding can be supplemented by dollars from the state government and private sector.
The funding will pay for up to 30 cleaning ambassadors 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 cleaning ambassadors will not be City employees. Instead, 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.
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.