PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Cleaning up the streets of Kensington was on the agenda Saturday. Philadelphia city officials joined hundreds of volunteers to make the streets of the drug-ridden neighborhood a little bit clean and a whole lot safer for the community.
From a distance, it looks like overgrown weeds. But up close, signs of a larger problem have taken root in communities like Kensington – used syringes and trash littering the streets.
Volunteers and city workers gathered at Hope Park on Saturday to kick off Philadelphia's 12th annual Philly Spring Cleanup.
"Kids like to play tag, everything, like to ride their bike, people wear sandals in the summertime," Raphael Feliciano, a city worker, said. "You never know when you're going to get hit by a syringe."
Feliciano was born and raised in Kensington, which is why he joined the volunteers to clean up the neighborhood Saturday.
It was the fifth major cleanup in Kensington since November.
The focus on this community is part of the Philadelphia Resilience Project.
"The way in which drugs have been marketed and sold in this country, this has been the epicenter of the real kind of suffering people have gone through," Mayor Jim Kenney said.
Part of the goal is to clear out major encampments, reduce trash and litter and sweep up the crime.
Volunteers branched out and gave dozens of other neighborhoods and parks the same facelift.
The mayor wants the community space to live up to its name.
"I just think continuing to show folks that there's hope," Kenney said. "We will get through it."
With more work to be done, volunteers will be back out May 11 for Love Your Park Week.
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