By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Neighbors on one street in Cobbs Creek are celebrating after winning first prize in Philadelphia’s Clean Block Contest.
Reporter: “Are you proud to live on this block?”
Newby: “Oh yeah, yeah.”
Former block captain and neighborhood historian Diane Newby has lived in the 6000 block of Carpenter Street for four decades. She says the block is 100 years old and has a history of segregation that has turned into neighborhood pride.
“1912 that’s when this block was built and it said nothing but Caucasians could live here for a period of 40 years. So, anyone who’s lived on this block for any period of time has lived here since the 1950s.”
“It’s just a collective participation knowing that this is our block, this is where we live,” says Stephanie Williams. Her husband Stan has been block captain for the past four years. She says the block has a history of being one of the cleanest in the city.
“In the 1990s, we came in as honorable mention. Then 10 years ago, third prize and then now, first prize. It’s very exciting.”
Streets Department Deputy Commissioner Donald Carlton says 17 blocks entered the contest and the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee spent four days visiting neighborhoods to determine which block would win.
“We judge it on cleanliness, we also judge it on effort,” says Carlton. “There may be an abandoned house where the neighbors may have done beautification effort on the house. There may an abandoned lot where they may have put beautification effort on that particular lot.”
Carlton says the top four blocks get prizes ranging from $300 for fourth place to $1,000 for first place.
Carpenter Street neighbors say they will soon vote on what to do with their prize money, which some are hoping will be on a snow blower.