Kaighn Avenue Clean-up Partnership Celebration ACTION

Skit Testimony

January 26, 2010

Monday, January 25th Sword of the Spirit/CCOP and the Kaighn Avenue Collaborative Enterprises (KACE) hosted a celebration and information sharing meeting that announced the partnership between the Greater Camden Partnership, the Clean and Safe Street's program, the UEZ, Camden Churches, residents, and businesses along the Kaighn Avenue Corridor. (photos here)

With over 60 people in attendance, leaders from CCOP and KACE told the story of Kaighn Avenue, shared their dreams for its future, and officially welcomed and acknowledged representatives from the Greater Camden Partnership and the Clean and Safe Street's Program (Andrew Elliot Director and Maceo Mallone Project Director). The meeting was covered by Philadelphia NBC Channel 10 and broadcasted on the 11 PM news.

Kaighn Avenue is no stranger to the number of issues that plague Camden's major corridoers.  Flooding, potholes, trash strewn vacant lots, abandoned buildings, graffiti tagged walls, missing lamp posts, drug dealing, and prostitution have all found their place on this corridor that runs runs East and West through Camden.  But with these challenges there are a handful of churches, businesses, and residents that are standing together to fight on behalf of the street and for a healthier community. 

Monday night's meeting was highlighted by a number of key presentations.  Tracy Coston, member of Sword of the Spirit, opened the meeting up powerfully with prayer, calling to mind not just who we are, but WHOSE we are. 

Following the prayer, two of Sword of the Spirits up and coming leaders Devon Burroughs and Sheron Timmons energized the meeting with a presentation that painted the picture of what CCOP and KACE are working to accomplish on Kaighn Avenue as well as the challenges of getting residents to believe and feel hope again. 

After the presentation, Dr. Bernadette Anderson of Sword of the Spirit and Jeffrey Pierson of Dennis J. Zisa and Associates shared a research report.  Their report was built around the metaphor of a necklace.  Thinking of Kaighn Avenue in this context, the beads or pearls become the successes that lead the community to a finished, healthy, and beautified Kaighn Avenue.  

  • The first bead was the streetscape development study conducted by Pennoni and Associates
  • The second bead was the replacement of 35 + street lights in Gateway
  • The third bead was the arrival of the Clean and Safe Streets program (the blue and yellow crews) 

With momentum building and changes starting to occur, the Sword of the Sprit/CCOP local organizing committee in partnership with KACE has set their sights for the 4th and 5th Beads.  These beads won't come easy.  The 4th Bead rests in the hands of the City of Camden and the 5th bead in the hands of the County.

In addition to these beads, the local organizing team is also looking to strengthen the chain that will hold these beads together, that chain is the people.

If you want to help transform Kaighn Avenue, if you want your voice to breath hope and life back in to Camden, now is your chance.  Please contact one of the CCOP local leaders at Sword of the Spirit.