Residents of the 6000 block of Trinity Street in Southwest Philadelphia won the Philadelphia Clean Block Contest last week.
After weeks of planning and hard work, the block received the news during a banquet where the winners of the competition were announced.
Trinity Street, located in an area in Southwest Philadelphia noted for its blight and crime, transformed its block for this competition and won over the heart of the judges.
“I think it’s definitely a win for the Southwest community because now we are on the map citywide and our next step is to go to another level,” said Regina Young of Empowered Community CDC who, along with other members of the community, gathered at a celebration held at the home of Trinity Street block captain Marsha Wall.
Young said she looked forward to putting Southwest in a positive light.
“It was a lot of work, a lot of planning but most important it was community building; they were engaging and they were all working toward the same goal,” Young said.
It was this unification of residents which Young and others said made Trinity Street winners regardless of the outcome of the competition.
Together, Trinity street residents painted street curbs, cleaned alley ways and lots, even decorated the front of unoccupied homes on the block. During the challenge, neighbors showed their unity and oneness of purpose by wearing orange shirts bearing the name of their street.
“It took a lot of manpower, blood, sweat and tears to be honest with you,” said Marsha Wall, Trinity Street block captain.
Wall is locally recognized as a community organizer and president of the Southwest Community Advisory Group. Collaboration and community unification was something she focused on.
City agencies, members of Empowered Community Development Corporation, Philadelphia More Beautiful, Philly Rising and the Philadelphia Horticultural Society all worked to support the effort.
“Originally, back a few years ago, we had a number of abandoned and blighted properties, our lots were filled with weeds and trash, we had numerous abandoned cars on our block and we just worked diligently with the 12th police district and license and inspection,” Wall said.
Today those abandoned cars are gone, the lots are clean and the houses are cared for.
Trinity Street also partnered with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Abatement Lot program.
“They’ve come and helped us clean those lots every two weeks and we just love them,” Wall said.
Trinity Street residents define themselves as “a diamond in the rough” and even some of the residents of surrounding blocks raised their eyebrows when told Trinity Street was entering the contest.
“When I mentioned to some of the surrounding areas ... they were naysayers and kind of heckled me just for the thought of even entering,” Wall said.
They aren’t heckling anymore.
“But we were diligent and we knew what we wanted to do; we stayed up day and night planning,” she said.
“Our slogan has always been, and will always be, ‘It’s not where you live, it’s how you live,’” Wall said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re not on the Main Line or Chestnut Hill, you maintain your block and you can live like everyone else.”
Trinity Street tied with the 700 block of Markoe Street for first place.
The four top winners selected from among the 22 blocks competing in this year’s contest were:
1st: $1,000 — 700 Block of Markoe Street
and 6000 Block of Trinity Street
2nd: $700 — 900 Block of Delhi Street
3rd: $500 — 600 Block of Dauphin Street
4th: $300 — 2200 Mascher Street