FILTHADELPHIA tries to shed nickname by cleaning its streets..............

The City of Brotherly Love was once revolutionary when it came to clean streets, gutters and sidewalks. Benjamin Franklin launched one of America's first street sweeping programs here in late 1750s.

In 1952, the city tied with Memphia, Tennessee as the nation's cleanest.

Those distinctions are long gone. Poverty and litter often go hand in hand, and ''Filthadelpehia'' is the nation's poorest big city.

In the wake of  2008  economic crisis, and after mounting grumblings by residents who didn't want to move their cars, Philadelphia scrapped its residential street sweeping program, leaving it the only city of its size in the country without one.

Now some neighborhoods struggling with litter have decided to take collection  into their own hands. Last month, a  nonprofit  neighborhood group in the city's  Germantown section started rounds of litter collection with its own trash truck.

Other neighborhood associations are paying for human  human street sweepers  or professional trash collection companies.

The  low-income  German neighborhood  has  a  persistent  litter problem, in addition to problems with gun violence, blight and, sometimes, a sense of hopelessness.

''This is us stepping to the plate of to be part of the solution, because a lot of this  litter isn't something the city can control,'' said Jordan Ferrarrini, whose groups,   Trade for a Difference, bought the Germantown truck.

''It's something being done in the community, and has to do with the psychology of the neighborhood.''

His group hires young people from neighborhood  to work in litter collection and hopes to expand the duties to beautification projects and paintings. The idea is to provide jobs in neighborhood and to build a sense of community and pride,'' he said.

City officials see no shame in neighborhood groups buying their own trash trucks to deal with litter problems.

Carlton Williams, street commissioner, said the Germantown group's idea isn't to replace the city's trash collection efforts, but to compliment them.

He's all for it.

''Litter is a partnership effort,'' he said. ''That is the key to success and its great that they want to be ambitious. We're fully supportive.'' [Agencies]


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