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Development News

Washington Avenue's latest development: A year-long beautification effort

Ready Willing and Able will help clean up Washington Ave.

Ready Willing and Able will help clean up Washington Ave.

Thanks to a newly-inked contract between the Washington Avenue Property Owners Association (WAPOA) and the rehabilitative group known as Ready, Willing & Able (RWA), the mile-long western half of South Philly's Washington Avenue is about to become significantly tidier. (For more on the fate of Washington Avenue West, check out this week's lead feature.)

Along with career development and educational resources, RWA offers paid transitional work to formerly homeless and incarcerated men. That work often comes in the form of park maintenance and street cleaning. For the next 12 months, the "men in blue" (they wear distinctive blue uniforms) will transform the neighborhood's most economically crucial corridor into a much more inviting space.  

"We've know anecdotally for a long time that Washington Avenue is the dirtiest part of this neighborhood," says Andrew Dalzell of the South of South Neighborhood Organization (SOSNA). The group has even utilized something called a "litter index" to quantify the street's trash problem. The conclusion? Not good. But thanks to financial donations from WAPOA, SOSNA, PIDC, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson's office and others, the street is getting $10,000 worth of sprucing up. (The year-long contract began on Feb. 6).            

The RWA contract is especially big news for business owners and developers with a stake in the avenue's future. Various beautification efforts along the street's length have been just one of many initiatives instituted by local community organizations as they've attempted to woo development dollars and investment to the area. 

"I think the goal is [that once] we make this successful on Washington Avenue, Point Breeze Avenue takes note; Oregon Avenue takes note; Snyder Avenue takes note; South Broad takes note," says Dalzell. "The Avenue of the Arts should be hiring these guys, in my view." 

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Andrew Dalzell, South of South Neighborhood Organization (SOSNA)

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