Camden wants residents, businesses to pitch in for annual cleanup and beyond

David Madden
April 09, 2019 - 2:58 pm
Crews fanned out along Mount Ephraim Avenue in Camden, cleaning up several blocks along that commercial corridor to start off a city wide effort to clear blight across the city.

David Madden/KYW Newsradio

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Crews fanned out along Mount Ephraim Avenue in Camden, cleaning up several blocks along that commercial corridor to start off a city wide effort to clear blight across the city.

This is the second year of Camden’s “Team Up Clean Up” effort, and Mayor Frank Moran hopes to change people’s attitudes. But it’s not easy.

For example, he dealt with a resident’s complaint last week of illegal dumping on an empty corner lot.

“We sent Public Works,” the Mayor told reporters at a press conference. “They mobilized and they cleaned it immediately before the end of the day. I just drove by that lot and there is a sofa, boxes and trash back on that lot."

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Crews hit the avenue with brooms, vacuums, paint and more, which will work for a while. But bottom line? The city can’t do this alone. 

Businesses are being cajoled, at this point, to keep their areas clean. And there’ll be neighborhood efforts starting this Saturday and continuing through the summer.

If you want someone who embodies what Camden’s looking for, turn to Jasper Muhammad, who has owned “A Touch of Jaz” hair salon along Mount Ephraim Avenue for six years and routinely cleans his sidewalk and the side street.

Not because he has to.

“If I just cleaned in front of my business, the debris next door would float right back in front of my business,” he said. “We all have to take a step forward to go a step and beyond just to make it safe. If not for me, if not for you, for our children.”

If a gentle nudge won’t do the trick, police are teaming up with the city’s code enforcement office, promising more aggressive action in areas that need extra attention.