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City plans massive Kensington Avenue cleanup project

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It’s a city-led initiative to combat opioid abuse

The city plans to enact a massive clean up project on Kensington Avenue tomorrow as part of a large-scale plan to combat heroin abuse.

Starting Thursday morning, employees and volunteers, led by Philly’s Community Life improvement Program (CLIP) will pick up drug paraphernalia and litter on Kensington Avenue from Allegheny to Lehigh avenues. They’ll also paint the doors and windows of abandoned buildings along the route, according to a statement from the city. The streets department plans to provide blowers and brooms for street sweeping, and SEPTA will work to clean up MFL and other transit stops in the area.

Meanwhile, representatives from Licenses and Inspections will inspect open properties, and clean and seal others, according to the statement.

The section of Kensington Avenue that Philly officials plan to focus on.
City of Philadelphia

The plan is part of a city-wide effort to combat heroin abuse, called “The Philadelphia Resilience Project.” Along with the cleanup, the city is placing syringe disposal boxes placed at McPherson Square and some SEPTA stations.

The resilience project focuses primarily on Kensington, a neighborhood so plagued by the opioid epidemic, that a Drug Enforcement Administration agent recently labeled it, “the largest open-air narcotics market for heroin on the east coat” in a piece by the New York Times.

“Our city is now facing a crisis unlike anything we’ve seen before,” Philly Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement on the project earlier this month.

In addition to the Kensington Avenue cleanup, the project focuses on several other specific areas. They plan to evict people from the Frankford Avenue homeless encampment by mid-November, and start a similar clearing out process by the end of December on the Emerald Street encampment. The city already evicted people from two homeless encampments in Kensington in May.

For anyone who’s displaced or homeless, the city plans to look into intermediate housing, and create a 24-hour “Navigation Center,” for “respite and wrap-around social services,” according to the city plan.

Other initiatives that are part of the plan include increased access to healthcare and information on treatment, and more police presence as a safety measure.

The cleanup portion of the project is expected to start at 9 a.m. Thursday, and last until 1 p.m.