Imagine Germantown as a great destination

    In the first two parts of our series, we’ve travelled back in time. Allowed nostalgia to take its course. Got inspired, I hope, with tigers, magic carpet ride adventures and even an early visit from Santa. So you’re probably wondering, what’s next in Freedom’s Backyard? Let’s fast-forward to what’s happening in Germantown today that will lead us into a future full of possibilities.

    The reality is that the energy once harnessed here in Germantown is still alive and well. It seems the pendulum has swung towards both extremes, but now there is hope that we are moving more towards a level of balance. Despite the low quality stores, influx of sneaker shops and fast food chains, we are in the midst of a rebirthing period.

    Along with Maplewood Health Food Store, around since 1963, there are a few more independently owned businesses. At present, we have a few healthy sit-in restaurants like Linda’s Flower Café, The Nile Café, and All The Way Live Restaurant. There’s a progressive school, Project Learn, and a Winter Bazaar for local arts & crafts. And we can all enjoy the farmer’s market situated in front of the historic Wyck House during the warmer months.

    Some seeds have been sown, and some are taking root. We are growing towards more “proactive work than protest,” says John Churchville, President of Greater Germantown Business Association (GGBA) and Chair of Germantown United Community Development Corporation (CDC). The GGBA and Germantown United CDC share the common goal of establishing and re-developing a Green business district and commercial corridor in G’town. The mission, as John explains, is to make “Germantown a Destination.”

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    Germantown has the potential to be a hip, cultural and creative mecca that will stimulate developers and foster good business practices, relationships and community. The vision, as John puts it, is driven by “the kind of leadership that inspires the people of Germantown to create a thriving self-sustaining community that becomes a national model of sustainable community.” The evidence is all around us, and the energy steering it is strong.

    One of the most promising new developments is the Germantown Artist Roundtable Group where local artists are discussing what an arts district in Germantown should look like. If you are an artist or an arts educator, you may want to consider attending the next Roundtable discussion on February 9. Or jump in and join the conversation later that same day at WHYY with Creative Vitality in Philadelphia, brainstroming “how to make Philadelphia the best place to work, play, learn and live creatively.”

    The Germantown United CDC, launched in November of last year, is also actively recruiting Board Members and supporters for “making Germantown a destination.” If you’re interested in learning more, consider attending the Germantown United CDC’s meeting on February 29 at 7 p.m. to discuss the redevelopment of Germantown’s Commercial Corridor.

    Change is coming, and a comeback is upon us. I am excited to be here, are you?

    For more information about meetings, groups and conversations visit:

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