Mayor Purzycki Announces a Daily Employment Program as Part of Wilmington’s Beautiful City Initiative
Neighborhood residents are being hired to keep City Streets and neighborhoods clean; Home Depot is providing street cleaning materials for the new workers
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki today announced an expansion of Wilmington’s Beautiful City Initiative (WBCI), which was launched last year as a sustained drive by City government and the community to clean the City and keep it clean. The Mayor said the latest addition to the Beautiful City effort is the creation of a day employment program that is hiring local residents to clean streets and neighborhoods. Mayor Purzycki said the new component of the Beautiful City Initiative program gives individuals an opportunity to earn money throughout the summer while providing a benefit for the entire city.
“Wilmington citizens have shown they care about our City’s image as a clean and welcoming place to live, work and visit,” said the Mayor. “Some of our citizens are in need of additional money to sustain themselves and their families. So, we are trying to solve two problems at once through a partnership with five community organizations that also care about creating employment and keeping Wilmington clean.”
Mayor Purzycki said Wilmington is partnering with the Redding Foundation in eastside Wilmington, the Achievement Center in the northeast portion of the City, Temple United Church in West Center City, and Our Youth, Inc., which will be cleaning other western portions of the City. The Mayor today also thanked the Home Depot store on Miller Road and store manager Phil Pisani for providing cleaning equipment and other materials being used by the new workers.
Each of the agencies is receiving $30,000 from the City’s Real Estate and Housing Department to employ up to 25 people who are working at least four hours a day and several days a week on the street and neighborhood cleaning program. The day workers are managed by the non-profit agencies and their work is being monitored by the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services. Mayor Purzycki said the new program could, and probably will, employ more than 25 people depending on whether the same workers return for additional days of work or whether new neighborhood residents are hired. The Mayor said the new employment program began earlier this month. If it is successful, the Mayor said he’ll look for additional funds to keep the program going through the fall season.
The other elements of the Beautiful City Initiative include:
- Cleaning the City’s highly visible areas and well-traveled corridors or gateways on a regular basis. On many mornings, Public Works street cleaning staff are cleaning—by hand and machine—the City’s gateways in the early morning hours prior to the morning rush hour. The gateways that are being cleaned include, but are not limited to, Lancaster Avenue, 4th Street, Maryland Avenue, Northeast Boulevard, Church Street, Vandever Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Concord Avenue and MLK Boulevard.
- Deploying additional hand cleaning crews on neighborhood streets as well as using the city’s water flusher trucks more often. Street crews are paying greater attention to areas in need of work, such as sidewalks, grass, trees and utilities.
- The City will distribute FREE trash bins in August to approximately 900 residential properties in West Center City as a pilot program to change resident behavior and encourage citizens to place trash in the new receptacles instead of on the street. The Mayor said the new trash bins, which will be the same size as the City’s recycle bins, can be lifted and emptied mechanically into a City trash truck as the recycle bins currently are, improving worker safety for City employees and adding greater efficiency to the collection process.
- The City will also restore recycling bins to West Center City that were removed last year so the City could work on improving trash disposal with two collections a week. West Center City residents will receive letters with information about the proper disposal methods for both trash and recycling. Mayor Purzycki said recycling lowers disposal costs and protects the environment. He would like to see Wilmington’s current citywide curbside recycling rate of approximately 20% increased to at least 30% by next year.
- Improved landscaping design and maintenance for public areas such as MLK Boulevard, Northeast Boulevard at 12th Street, 11th Street between Spruce and Church Streets, Concord Avenue and Broom Street, South Market from A Street to Howard Street, D Street at Heald Street and the Delaware Avenue Streetscape.
- Improving the process for removing dead or injured trees from public rights of way and in parks; replacing missing or worn street signage through a citywide visual inventory; and repainting crosswalks and stop bars, as well as repainting fire hydrants.
- The City has revived its Adopt-A-Block program, which requires neighborhoods, businesses, organizations and individuals to adopt an area and then agree to clean debris from a block or series of blocks at least every month.
- The Mayor said the City will also continue to crack down on those who illegally dump materials on City streets and open areas by working closely with the Wilmington Police Department to identify and arrest perpetrators.
- The City is exploring reforms to the City’s current street sweeping program by deploying street cleaning trucks in neighborhoods that are in regular need of cleaning versus pouring resources into only those areas where citizens have requested street cleaning. Mayor Purzycki said it makes more sense for Public Works to use its judgement to clean streets that need more frequent cleaning.
The City is exploring reforms to its current practice of providing three, free special trash pick-ups to residential properties annually and then charging just $25 for subsequent pick-ups. Mayor Purzycki said the current system is being abused by irresponsible property owners or tenants who dump large volumes of materials on a City street. Wilmington averages around 9,000 special pick-ups a year, which drains the Public Works budget and pulls the City’s street cleaning crews away from their mission of keeping streets clean.
Mayor Purzycki and Public Works Commissioner Kelly Williams said the new Beautiful City Initiative is supported through improved management of people and resources, more strategic deployment of staff, increased communication, sharing of equipment among divisions, the use of overtime assignments for existing employees, the hiring of a limited number of temporary employees, and now the addition of the new day employment program for citizens.
News and information from the Office of Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki
Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Communications
Mobile: (302) 420-7928
Paul Ford Jr.
Mobile: (302) 530-2171
Digital & Social Media Manager
Mobile: (302) 605-0026