Allentown plans to launch a "Love Our City" initiative to clean and revitalize the city, block by block, by disposing of tons of litter, clearing illegal dumping areas and removing graffiti.

The city’s goal is to equip a base of volunteers  with staff support and money "as they resolve identified neighborhood issues and replace blight with beautification projects."

The money is coming from a $25,000 Cities of Service grant.

It was announced Tuesday that Allentown is one of 23 U.S. cities to win a Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grant, which supports mayors who are implementing “impact volunteering” strategies that tackle pressing local challenges.

Pawlowski said his goal is "to sustain the city’s commitment to safe, clean and vibrant neighborhoods."

Spokesman Mike Moore said the mayor continuously has focused on engaging new groups in Allentown to emphasize social responsibility.

Said the mayor in a news release: “Using volunteers, youth and adults, from faith- based groups, community groups as well as interested individuals, the city will coordinate this initiative to revitalize and clean up neighborhoods one block at a time.

“Faith-based leaders, neighborhood watch groups, and community organizations will be asked to assist the city in identifying blight in their neighborhoods and recruiting volunteers to eradicate blight where they live, work and worship.”

The "Love Our City" program will begin in spring in Allentown.

Moore outlined how the $25,000 will be spent.

He explained $18,000 will be allocated for mini-grants.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to apply for those mini-grants to eliminate blight and to implement beautification projects in their neighborhood or blocks. The groups will determine what projects they want to pursue. Such projects could include tree well plantings, community gardens, community art project and lighting improvements.

Another $3,135 will pay for 100 hours of the Neighborhood Coordinator’s time and
$3,190 is allocated for supplies, explained Moore, who indicated the remaining $675 will be used for related expenses.

More than 60 mayors applied for Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grants to support the implementation of nearly 90 initiatives. Allentown is one of only 23 cities to win a grant in the latest round of funding.