The W Rockland St Project

What one Philadelphia city block can do to change its future.

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The 4th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup is Saturday, April 2 & W Rockland Street is participating!

It’s that time of year again. The 4th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup is just around the corner! The city-wide cleanup will be heldon Saturday, April 2 beginning at 9 a.m. This is the 3rd year W Rockland Street is participating. Our first year was an huge success. Tons of neighbors came out to give the block a Spring cleaning and a group of students from Drexel University helped us to clean the vacant lots on the block, which were total dumping grounds at the time. Our second year, was even better! More neighbors got involved and student volunteers from St. John’s University, brought to us by organizers at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, came all the way from New York to pitch in.

2011 is here and we have bigger and better plans for transforming our vacant lots into permanent green space. Looking to get involved? Volunteer for our cleanup project! Register online here or email

W Rockland Street Cleanup and Lot Transformation Project

We have no funding, nor do we work with any partner organizations. Our group is comprised of a handful of block home-owners working to implement much needed change in our community.

Goals for the 2011 Spring Cleanup:

  • Clean up all 3 vacant lots (minor cleaning compared to previous years!)
  • Install garden beds in the largest vacant lot of the 3.
  • Install fences in order to help curb future illegal dumping issues – all 3 lots.
  • Cleanup and beautify our own homes and yards.
  • Cleanup the street and sidewalk areas along the entire block.
  • Work with our neighbors to cleanup in front of vacant houses (there are several).
  • Work with our neighbors to assist the elderly in cleaning up their properties.
  • Say no to litter and illegal dumping! Respect our neighbors. Make Rockland Street a beautiful, trash free and safe place to live for all residents!

Future Goals for W Rockland Street:

  • Following our initial cleanup, we hope to continue hosting regular cleanups.
  • We would like to have the entire sidewalk and curbs redone on both sides of the street.
  • We would like to have trees planted on the block in vacant lots and along the sidewalk. (Is it possible to get trees from the city?)
  • We want to make Rockland Street clean and beautiful and keep it that way.


Abandoned Properties: 4815 Greene Street and 4817 Greene Street

At the intersection of W Rockland Street and Greene Street (on Greene) there are two abandoned homes that are still standing but that were also destroyed by a fire over 20 years ago. The exact date is unknown, I’d have to ask around, but basically it’s been a long, long time. The addresses of the homes are 4815 Greene Street and 4817 Greene Street. The property owners are long gone. The houses are now the site of illegal dumping, drug use and vagrant activity and also a lovely home for neighborhood raccoons.

Over the years, we have called the city to get these homes at the very least boarded up, at best demolished. Still nothing.  Our last reports were directed to Philly311 on March 27, 2010. We were told that LNI would be out to inspect both properties within 45 days. We’ll see what happens this time…

4815 Greene Street and 4817 Greene Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144

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West Philadelphia neighbors fight to save their block from an abandoned property

Just read two interesting articles in the news recently, one about a West Philadelphia block fighting to protect their community, the other a news story about the whopping 54,000 Philadelphians who applied for federal rent subsidies (Housing Choice Voucher program better known as Section8 housing) between March 2-15. 54,000!  More about the HCV program later.

The West Philly article includes an interview with Carolyn McClary, the longtime block captain who lives on the 1400 block of N Conestoga Street. She has been fighting to have an abandoned property near her home either sold or demolished. A good quote to think about:

“Some people decide to sell,” she says. “But for those who choose to stay, you worry that before you know it, it’s the whole block.” [...] “Maybe I’m asking too much of this old neighborhood.”

No, Mrs. McClary, you’re not asking too much. People need to grow up and be held accountable for their actions on all sides. From the property owners to the city’s lagging paperwork. Looks like now that this article was published, the city is being leaned on to put that property up for sheriffs sale. I hope the situation changes sooner than later.

Read the full article mentioned above here:

W. Phila. neighbors fight to save their block
The Philadelphia Inquirer
By Kia Gregory | April 8, 2010


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