Northeast Times

Service Program Reaches End of Line in Frankford Business District

The Frank­ford Spe­cial Ser­vices Dis­trict will go out of busi­ness when the year ends, said Tim Wis­niewski, its ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or.

The SSD, which has provided for clean­ing lit­ter from the Frank­ford Av­en­ue Busi­ness Cor­ridor and hir­ing safety am­bas­sad­ors, is a mu­ni­cip­al agency that has a sun­set pro­vi­sion, Wis­niewski said. Every five years, it has to be re­newed by City Coun­cil, and it hasn’t been re­newed, said board chair­man Jim Mc­Carthy.

Mc­Carthy said he doesn’t fore­see the agency be­ing re­vived any­time in the near fu­ture.

Much of the work the Spe­cial Ser­vices Dis­trict did was bat­tling the neg­at­ive im­pact mod­ern so­ci­ety had on Frank­ford’s busi­ness cor­ridor — lit­ter, graf­fiti and bad per­cep­tions.

Wis­niewski and Mc­Carthy said the or­gan­iz­a­tion hired people to pick up the trash dis­carded along the av­en­ue and fur­ther fought lit­ter­ing by in­stalling — and bolt­ing down — trash cans on street corners.

The street clean­ing alone cost between $30,000 and $40,000 a year, Mc­Carthy said. The or­gan­iz­a­tion’s fund­ing was largely based on a tax of area busi­nesses that was equal to one-tenth of each busi­ness prop­erty’s an­nu­al real es­tate taxes. Mc­Carthy said he owns sev­er­al prop­er­ties and that most of what he paid was about $100 to $110 per prop­erty.

The SSD also hired “safety am­bas­sad­ors” to provide se­cur­ity and in­form­a­tion for shop­pers and act as li­ais­ons with po­lice. They were based in an old po­lice trail­er at Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Foulk­rod Street.

There also was a de­tail team that looked to wash off graf­fiti as it ap­peared, Wis­niewski said.

All that ef­fort will end as the sun sets on the SSD on Sat­urday, Mc­Carthy said.

“After Dec. 31, Frank­ford is go­ing to look a lot dif­fer­ent,” Wis­niewski said dur­ing a phone in­ter­view earli­er this month. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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