While East Falls is home to prominent politicians and their middle-class neighborhoods, trash littering the streets and parks has become a growing concern.
Community members said they not only want the area to be appealing, but also inspire others to clean up after themselves. The community, which is home to former Gov. Ed Rendell and former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, is awash in trash. Maybe it’s not as bad as other parts of the city, but it is a growing problem, residents said.
Gina Snyder, the executive director of the East Falls Development Corp., has faced challenges with trying to fix the trash problem.
“We’ve tried to do cleanings throughout the year, but we don’t have the resources to clean all the time. I have actually tried to apply for grants and things to try to get more cleaning in the area, but we’re not there yet because of the economic downturn,” Snyder said.
Although the poor economy has negatively affected the resources the East Falls Development Corp. can receive, community members and businesses still care about keeping the area clean.
The owner of Slices Pizza, located at 4249 Ridge Ave., is always out cleaning the area in front of his store and along Inn Yard Park, Snyder said.
“There’s not necessarily a relationship between local businesses and the trash that’s being generated. They’re not just cleaning up the trash from their business. They’re also cleaning up trash that is generated by people who are passing by,” Snyder said.
Todzsa Brown, the owner of The Garden of Eden located at 4237 Ridge Ave., said a big problem she’s noticed over the years is when trash bags rip during pick-up a lot of the debris are just left on the street. “We have trash cans and recycling in our alley and every day there’s plastic bottles on the ground or soda cans in front of my store, and I think people just don’t care about their neighborhood. But I understand the Sanitation Department can only do so much if the citizens aren’t going to do their part,” Brown said.
Adrienne Berrian has been the owner of Adrienne’s Floral Creations, located on the 4233 Ridge Ave., for the past 11 years. She said there’s always trash on the street outside of her business. Berrian said she thinks the city’s
budget cuts have a lot to do with the trash problem in the area, but it’s the responsibility of both individuals and the city to keep the streets clean. “We have a personal responsibility of going out and cleaning the trash, but not everybody is responsible,” Berrian said
“The city doesn’t have enough money, so I think we have to just take care of ourselves,” Snyder said. She said many East Falls residents clean up the neighborhood and participate in events like the yearly Philly Spring Cleanup.
This year, the cleanup will be taking place on from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 14, along the riverfront business district.
The event brings out a mixture of community members and businesses, Snyder said. It’s a great way for people to come together, participate in making the area look better and get rid of the winter blues, she said.
“In the past when we’ve had snowy winters it’s really bad because the snow kind of collects the trash and it stays in one place. We haven’t had that kind of snow this year, but there’s just areas where nobody’s been outside really cleaning,” Snyder said.
The Streets Department organizes the event providing bags, gloves, rakes and other materials. They also do a trash pick-up at a designated location at the end of the day, Snyder said. On the same day, there’s also going to be a recycling fundraiser for the East Falls community.
A truck will be at the parking lot under the twin bridges for people to donate things like old cell phones, shoes, belts, bags and clothing. The recycled items will be collected, weighed and the money received will go back to the community, Snyder said. “It’s a great way for people who are doing their own household spring cleaning to
donate items they no longer want,” Snyder said.
The Trolley Car Cafe, located at 3269 South Ferry Road, will be giving out coupons for $5 off a meal over $15 to anyone who donates.
“We have a nice synergy going on with trying to get people down here to help with the spring cleanup, bring recycling, and just do a general spring cleaning,” Snyder said.
Snyder also said she thinks the event is good because it allows people to see participation from the community.
“In some ways we’re not really avid about just going around and cleaning because we think that people should take responsibility. That’s more of what we’re trying to do with the cleanup. I think we all have to take responsibility and try to get other people to take responsibility and clean up. We try to encourage people to clean up all the time, because once a year just doesn’t cut it.” Snyder said.
The Philadelphia Street Department’s Sanitation Division was unavailable for comment.