City Hosts Pep Rally Celebrating PHL TCB Ambassadors for their Achievements along Commercial Corridors

Today, City officials celebrated the achievements of 255 TCB Cleaning Ambassadors maintaining commercial corridors citywide at the PHL TCB Pep Rally hosted by the Department of Commerce. TCB currently funds 39 community-serving nonprofits and 4 minority-owned cleaning companies that hire local Philadelphians for meaningful employment opportunities. TCB is carried out by crews of uniformed Cleaning Ambassadors deployed along scheduled routes to sweep sidewalks and maintain clean commercial corridors. The Pep Rally included cheerful testimonials highlighting the positive impact of the Philadelphia Taking Care of Business (TCB) Clean Corridors Program.

“I dream of days when our beloved city would be viewed and celebrated as the cleanest big city in America. PHL TCB is an integral part of fulfilling that dream. Since PHL TCB began in 2020, the program has grown from 49 to now serving 129 commercial corridors citywide. Through my One Philly budget, I proposed to keep expanding TCB, including covering more commercial corridors, more frequent cleaning of existing corridors, and increasing the number of participating organizations,” said Mayor Cherelle L. Parker. “PHL TCB is made through partnerships and will continue to be strengthened through each contribution. That’s why, I am excited to share that we’ve lined up our first private sector contribution to the PHL TCB program with $100,000 from Amazon. Alongside partners within and beyond government, we are committed to making Philadelphia safer, cleaner and greener with economic opportunity for all.”

Under Mayor Cherelle L. Parker’s leadership, the Office of Clean and Green Initiatives is developing a comprehensive strategy that combines the strengths of our city to confront the challenges of litter, illegal dumping, and graffiti head-on for a cleaner, sustainable future. The Department of Commerce’s PHL Taking Care of Business (TCB) Clean Corridors Program is integral to these efforts.

“TCB Ambassadors are on the front lines maintaining our city’s commercial corridors that provide essential jobs, goods and services for Philadelphians. In addition to sweeping up litter, they interact with businesses and residents. TCB Ambassadors know these commercial corridors well, from the cultures to the spoken languages, and the challenges that need the most attention,” said Alba Martinez, Commerce Director, City of Philadelphia. “905,480 residents live within a quarter mile walk of the areas being served by the PHL TCB program which is 1,050 city blocks. TCB is a critical investment in litter reduction efforts across neighborhood commercial corridors citywide and meaningful employment opportunities for local residents who live in communities served by this program. We are pleased to celebrate the impressive achievements of TCB Ambassadors at the fourth annual TCB Pep Rally.”

“Businesses throughout the city frequently express how TCB contributes to their business success.  They recognize that clean sidewalks bring more customers, and that the presence of friendly uniformed Cleaning Ambassadors helps put people at ease,” said Denis Murphy, Deputy Commerce Director, Office of Corridor Improvement and Business Services. “Clean streets also help to protect our waterways by preventing litter from entering our sewer outfalls and reducing stormwater pollution. We are so proud of TCB crews’ vital efforts to maintain vibrant commercial areas. Thank you to Sanitation personnel that support our dedicated TCB crews with trash bag removal while educating businesses and residents about their responsibilities to also keep sidewalks clean. The diligent efforts of TCB crews are a vital example of what it looks like to take care of our neighborhoods, commercial corridors and each other. We each have a role in reducing waste, increasing recycling, and working towards a more sustainable future for all Philadelphians. We are honored to manage this great program and serve our city.”

The TCB award certificates were signed by the Mayor Cherelle L. Parker and Commerce Director Alba Martinez. City Council Members announced the awards at the TCB Pep Rally to the cleaning crews who serve their districts. The TCB Pep Rally celebrated program accomplishments, including:

LITTER REDUCTION

In 2023, 75 percent of TCB corridors have a Litter Index Score between 1 and 2. This is up from 66 percent in 2022, meaning that more corridors are consistently cleaner. 168,599 bags of trash were removed from TCB corridors by TCB crews. This equals 14,049 dumpsters collected citywide. 15,839 more bags of trash collected than in 2022. TCB has added several new cleaning areas. This increase in cleaning areas amounted to more trash collected.

“I’m not just cleaning the streets; I’m making a difference in our local community. The change from when I started, to now, is outstanding. We’ve seen a lot more people going to work, getting their kids to school, and just living their day to day lives,” said Daniel Marshall, TCB Cleaning Manager, Impact Services. “Out on the streets, I see so many people who know me from a past life, and they congratulate me. They see the changes I’ve made in myself and in the community, and they’re proud of me. The PHL TCB program brings me joy.”

“PHL Taking Care of Business Clean Corridors is a great program because everyone sticks together. People of all races and denominations work to make a community cleaner,” said Megan Romanoff, TCB Cleaning Ambassador, Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition (SEAMAAC). “All of us care about the work we’re doing because it improves the quality of life for everyone here. It changes our mindset for the better.”

“TCB Cleaning Ambassadors and organizations have a consistent presence in commercial corridors citywide, including at Broad and Erie, on North 5th Street, on Woodland Avenue, on 52nd Street, in West Oak Lane, Germantown and Chelten, on Rising Sun and more,” said Yvonne Boye, Deputy Commerce Director, Office of Neighborhood Economic Development. “As we raise our cheers at the TCB Pep Rally, we celebrate cleaning crews who are local champions of our environment and economy. We are also grateful for the tremendous efforts of our partner organizations to support businesses in the neighborhood commercial areas that they serve. As a result, commercial areas are cleaner, more attractive places for businesses and for shoppers.”

WORKFORCE TRAINING

TCB cleaning ambassadors attain credentials that are highly valued by employers across many industries, which can benefit them when searching for future employment opportunities, such as enrolling in workplace safety, mental health and career readiness programs. 191 Cleaning Ambassadors to date have completed an online CareerSafe OSHA-10 certification with 23 earning their certificate in 2023.

“Our TCB Cleaning Ambassador, Warren, is well-known throughout the neighborhood. Residents appreciate him, and on the flip side, he sees the value in keeping our streets clean,” said Stephanie Michel, Executive Director, North 5th Street Revitalization Project.  “TCB afforded him a lot of opportunities for professional training, but also to form connections with his teammates, the business owners and the residents.  Living just a block off North 5th, he has become a neighborhood fixture and a person that residents trust and rely on. Warren and his wonderful team members take great pride in addressing these issues and removing harmful litter.”

ECONOMIC SUCCESS

TCB enabled four Philadelphia-based, for-profit, minority-owned cleaning companies to grow their businesses, with City contracts among the four companies increasing from $221,000 in 2020 to $2.16 million in 2023. This is a 900% increase since 2020.

“The PHL Taking Care of Business Clean Corridors Program gives us the opportunity to expand, reload, and bring more people on board. For me as a business owner, it is great to expand our business, but personally, it’s a lot more than that,” said Jeff Fortune, Co-Owner and President, ACAM Management. “Having a supportive job is vital for anyone struggling and looking to get back on track. I’m invested in the PHL TCB concept through its ability to inspire and give people hope. Together, we are committed to make the areas we serve cleaner while fostering pride in the neighborhoods we serve, and giving opportunity to those that need it most.” 

TREE MAINTENANCE

242 newly planted trees being maintained by PHL TCB Ambassadors working with the following community-based organizations, serving commercial corridors:

  • ACHIEVEability and Global Thinking Initiatives, Inc.
  • African Cultural Alliance of North America
  • HACE Community Development Corporation
  • Centennial Parkside Community Development Corporation
  • Nueva Esperanza Housing and Economic Development Corporation

The newly planted trees are located on the following commercial corridor blocks:

  • 1-199 S 60th Street, 1-100 N 60th Street and 200-699 S 60th Street
  • 5400-5599 Chester Avenue and 5500-6199 Woodland Avenue
  • 2600-2999 N 5th Street and 3000-3299 N Front Street
  • 4000-4099 W Girard Avenue and 1100-1199 N 40th Street
  • 100- 499 W Wyoming Avenue

These newly planted trees and maintenance efforts are funded by the William Penn Foundation, Deeply Rooted, Urban Health Lab at Penn Medicine Center for Health Justice, Department of Commerce, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation USA. The Overbrook Environmental Education Center provides the environmental training to support the stewardship and tree maintenance efforts of PHL Taking Care of Business Ambassadors.

“We are grateful for the newly planted trees in our community. The addition of green space has brought a sense of life and beautification to our corridor,” said Addelin Ceballos, Assistant Business District Manager, HACE Community Development Corporation. “It is an important step towards creating a healthier environment for all of us to enjoy. Thank you to Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Philadelphia Department of Commerce and all dignitaries involved for your efforts in making this possible.”

Images from 2024 TCB Pep Rally can be downloaded from an online album here.

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