By Michael Burch
You may have seen the hard-working guys, pictured above, working around Parkside. They are part of a program from the Centennial Parkside CDC called the Ambassadors program. In an effort to learn more about this program, I contacted Chris Spahr, the executive Director of Centennial Parkside and asked him some questions.
PJ: Can you tell me what the Ambassadors program is all about?
CS: The Ambassador Pilot Program helps to achieve one of the goals of the Centennial Parkside CDC, which is to clean and beautify the corridors of East Parkside. To do this, the ambassadors are sweeping streets, cleaning vacant lots, and working to combat illegal dumping in the community. Our hope is that this will encourage residents and business owners to keep their sidewalks and lots clean and beautiful and extend their concern to vacant lots and alleyways in the neighborhood. It is also a sign that East Parkside is no longer a place where people can illegally dump garbage. Rather, we hope that this program will empower residents to take control of their neighborhood and demand an end to illegal dumping.
PJ: How many staff currently and what is their service area?
CS: There are currently three staff members and their initial focus areas are vacant lots, 40th and 41st streets from the bridges to Girard Avenue, and Girard Avenue from 40th Street to 38th Street.
PJ: Do you have a plan to expand the program?
CS: This project, supported by the Knight Foundation and Brandywine Realty, is currently funded through October but the CDC is pursuing additional funding to extend and expand the program.
PJ: One more thing, if residents should need help with a neighborhood problem, can they request help?
CS: Yes, if residents request help from the Ambassadors, this information will be relayed to management at the CDC, who can then add this to the work plan. Residents can also contact the CDC directly to request help with any specific neighborhood problems.
PJ: Thank you for answering our questions. For residents that have a need to contact the CDC they can be reached at 267-225-8356.