'Attacking the grime' in the city

April 08, 1994|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Sun Staff Writer

A legion of 300 city workers representing 11 agencies swept into the Barclay-Midway community today to continue a spring cleaning of a once drug-infested neighborhood.

Residents rejoiced as trash trucks, street sweepers and city horticulturists roamed the streets picking up trash and planting trees in the neighborhood that is bounded by East North Avenue, 25th Street, Guilford Avenue and Homewood Avenue.

"It seemed like for a while it was a neighborhood that was forgotten," said Nomia Crudup, a resident of the 1900 block of Homewood Ave. "But now we are like the baby of the family, getting all of the at tention. We are doing great today."

Salvation for the neighborhood began March 19 when 100 police officers launched a series of raids on houses to confiscate weapons and drugs.

The raids -- dubbed Operation Midway -- netted 50 arrests.

Later, city workers descended on the area and to begin a clean up that rid the area of 140 tons of trash from its streets and alleyways.

The cleanup continued today.

When the work is completed tomorrow, it will be up to the residents to maintain their community, said Reginald Scriber, a community advocate for the city's Department of Housing and Community Development.

"The crime has been addressed and now we are attacking the grime," Mr. Scriber said. "We're going to do everything we can to make sure we get this community back on track."

City social workers were expected to begin a door-to-door canvass of the community tomorrow offering health care, help for drug addiction and job advice, said Zack Germroth, spokesman for the housing department.

In addition, representatives from the city's recreation and parks department, fire department, school system, animal control and health departments were conducting inspections of the area.

Mr. Germroth said city housing inspectors were poised to issue emergency citations and condemnation notices. In addition, the housing department has demolished 23 houses in the area and has vowed to board up 200 vacant houses by tomorrow afternoon.

Liquor inspectors said they have targeted 16 neighborhood bars and package stores for inspection.

Some city public housing residents -- hired and trained last year under a new federal jobs program -- will renovate three row houses in the 500 block of East North Avenue.

City officials said one of their biggest challenges was at the corner of East North Avenue and Boone Street where a backyard was piled seven feet high with trash. It took three dump truck loads to clear the yard, which was rat infested.

"We have found everything except a body, so far," said Jerome Harrison, a sanitation worker for the city Department of Public Works after clearing most of the lot. "Everything. Rats, too."

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