A block that turned around dramatically in just four months won the city's Clean Block Contest on Friday.

The winner was 3600 N. Marvine St., in North Philadelphia.

Block captain Lawrence Burgess, who spearheaded the cleaning efforts, was ecstatic when he heard his group had won.

"Thank you, Jesus," he exclaimed when his block was named the winner. He described his reaction as: "Just happiness. It's like togetherness."

He added: "I was tired of my block looking mediocre. I wanted the beauty coming out of my house. I wanted the neighborhood to know each other."

The Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee announced the winners at a banquet at the Penn's Landing Caterers, attended by 270 people.

Of the 29 entrants, four blocks received the top awards and cash prizes. All entrants received a cash award.

Second place was 7900 Gilbert St.; third place was 700 Clymer St.; fourth place was 200 E. Walnut Park Dr.

PMBC, founded in 1965 by the Streets Department's Sanitation Division, aims to help beautify Philadelphia neighborhoods through organized block cleanings.

Over the years, the cleaning project has grown into an operation with more than 90,000 volunteers, all filling 110,000 bags during their annual cleaning activities, according to PMBC's website.

Wanda R. Jones-Heading, the PMBC administrator, said entrants were judged on aesthetics, cleanliness, and how neighbors worked together.

"Blocks that enter the contest are example-setters for the neighborhood. They show achievement; they show what can happen when you work together."

The first-place winner received $1,000; second, third, and fourth received $700, $500, and $300. Other entrants each received $150.