Keeping the streetscape clean and welcoming year-round for community members and visitors.
From the steaming hot days of summer to the ice, snow and cold of winter, the BLCSID’s Clean Team Ambassadors are on the job doing their best to keep Bergen Street between Lyons and Clinton Avenues and both of those streets to the Irvington border clean, safe and welcoming to local stakeholders and visitors alike. While the basic responsibilities of the team remain the same year-round, the changing of the seasons has an impact on their day-to-day focus.
Jerry Blankman of Commercial District Services (CDS), the company that oversees the hiring, training, scheduling and work of the Clean Team Ambassadors for the BLCSID, recently demonstrated to team members Brielle Alston, Kevin Blackwell, Sharleen Telfair, Joshua Williams and Quanika Joseph how to remove posters, stickers, and graffiti from public amenities, quickly and effectively. Joseph was recently promoted to Team Leader in Training. All Clean Team Ambassadors are Newark residents, most from the South Ward.
“When the weather gets extremely cold, it becomes difficult to remove stickers and paint over graffiti,” Blankman noted. “Therefore, we will soon begin concentrating on keeping crosswalks, sewer grates and curb cuts clear of leaves during the fall and snow and ice during the winter months.”
Reverend Phillip Gilmore, Pastor of St. John’s Community Baptist Church and President of the BLCSID, said that CDS representatives are already working with the City of Newark’s Department of Sanitation and Neighborhood Services to plan in advance how the Clean Team Ambassadors can support city workers on a supplemental basis when it comes to snow and ice removal.
Known locally as the South Ward SID, the BLCSID was established to help the area compete, improve and sustain commercial viability. A public/private partnership between the City of Newark, local business and commercial property owners and residents focused on generating economic activity and community development, the SID moved forward in 2016 with an aggressive streetscape maintenance program that is transforming vacant lots and properties in need of extra attention.
“While the City of Newark is responsible for snow removal on our streets, and property owners for the removal of snow on sidewalks around their buildings, Clean Team Ambassadors will be on call to help under extreme conditions, in addition to their primary focus on keeping crosswalks, curb cuts, and sewer grates clear using shovels, ice melt and snow blowers, if necessary,” Pastor Gilmore pointed out.
Chris Bernardo, Principal of Commercial District Services, said the Clean Team Ambassadors have been gathering more than 240 bags of garbage and removing 25-50 graffiti tags, stickers and posters on a weekly basis as part of the supplemental streetscape services the South Ward SID funds in support of the City of Newark’s Department of Sanitation.
“The Clean Team Ambassadors we have hired with the help of the job placement programs provided by the City of Newark and Beth Israel Medical Center are making a difference in their own community, contributing to a better quality of life for their families, friends and neighbors while learning valuable job skills and earning a paycheck,” he added.
“A clean, safe and welcoming community is the standard we are committed to on behalf of the people who live, work, shop, dine, invest and worship in the South Ward, and the people who visit our neighborhood and Newark,” concluded Ronice Bruce, the SID’s Executive Director. “Our Clean Team Ambassadors are now recognized and welcomed in their community for the work they are doing that we believe will contribute to the South Ward becoming the ward of choice in our city.”
A complete schedule showing where the Clean Team Ambassadors are working in the district on a weekly basis can be found at www.southwardsid.com, along with more information about programs, services and opportunities to support and contribute to the initiatives of the South Ward SID. You can also follow news from the South Ward SID through social media at Facebook.com/SouthWardSID.
(Left to Right) The South Ward SID’s Clean Team Ambassadors include Sharleen Telfair, Yousef Ibn Suliman, Kevin Blackwell and Quanika Joseph, with CDS Supervisor Jerry Blankman.