Marquis of Debris: Girard Ave. sweep

Clean Block winners from the 3600 N. Marvine St. (from left):Willie and Dianna Lawrence, and Sharon and Lawrence Burgess.
Clean Block winners from the 3600 N. Marvine St. (from left):Willie and Dianna Lawrence, and Sharon and Lawrence Burgess.
Posted: November 07, 2011

FED UP WITH filth in your neighborhood? Send the Marquis an email at, or look for him on Facebook.

CITY'S HELPING HANDS: When we asked readers for suggestions on how to get a grip on grime, many said nonprofit groups that work with ex-offenders or recovering addicts could help in the name of community service.

The Marquis is happy to report that this is already happening.

A group of men took to Girard Avenue near 42nd Street Thursday afternoon with brooms and black garbage bags, ridding the street and sidewalk of leaves and trash. Monte Carter, CEO of Art House Inc. - a substance-abuse- recovery program run out of five homes on Girard Avenue in West Philadelphia - said the goal of the beautification project extends beyond simply picking up trash.

"We're trying to lead by example; we try to teach them responsibility," he said. "It all starts with little projects."

"If you involve more people in what you're doing, the better your outcome will be," supervisor Greg Bolling said.

"If we had more tools we could do the entire block," Carter said.

The Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services can help in that area. The Community Partnership Program lends supplies to neighbors for clean-ups and other beautification projects on streets, parks, playgrounds and vacant lots. For info, call the Community Partnership Program at 215- 685-9558.

THEY CLEANED UP!: The 2011 Clean Block Contest closed Friday with the 3600 block of North Marvine Street being named by the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee as the cleanest block in the city.

The block, near Venango Street, was one of 29 to compete in this year's contest, and the team was awarded a trophy and $1,000 from the Streets Department to use for more neighborhood beautification projects.

Two husband-and-wife teams from the block - Lawrence and Sharon Burgess, and Dianna and Willie Lawrence - jumped for joy, and were moved to tears, after Deputy Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams announced during a reception at Penn's Landing that their block had won.

Sharon Burgess said although the work was difficult, it brought her neighborhood closer.

"I know all my neighbors now - by name," she said, wiping tears from her eyes.

The Marquis would like to congratulate the block for a job well- done, and thank all the blocks that participated for doing their part to make Philadelphia a cleaner city.

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