Kathy Paulmier is passionate about Germantown, and has always thought of herself as a neighborhood advocate. But when the Germantown Classic Towns committee formed to draw outsiders into the area, she wasn’t at all sure it would work.
The problem? She saw the typically suburban-focussed Classic Towns marketing program as a tough match for Germantown.
“When I first went to the Classic Towns Web site, I was somewhat bemused because we are nothing like some of the other towns on the Web site, like Manayunk or New Hope,” she said. “We are much larger and more complex, and I think ultimately more interesting.”
But given that Classic Towns is all about showcasing the intrinsic value of older communities for new people to see, Paulmier found it hard to resist.
“I have always been a cheerleader for Germantown,” she said.
The non-profit community group, Germantown Community Connection put together the Classic Towns committee when it won a grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission last year. The DVRPC helps market Germantown as a great place to live and work with other Classic Towns through a new Web site and advertisements as far afield as the New York Times Magazine.
But the GCC Classic Towns committee has broadened the scope beyond a discussion about marketing to one that verges on community planning and building a vision for the future. Just what a life long Germantowner like Paulmier likes to see.
“I think it’s the next step in the evolution of who we are as a community,” she said of the meetings.
Paulmier, who grew up in Germantown and attended Germantown Friends School, says she often has family and friends visiting from outside Philadelphia. She wants people to learn about the less obvious historic attractions in the area and she sees the new Classic Towns Web site and market outreach as a help with that.
“I hope it will create a more visitor-friendly Germantown,” she said.
Paulmier says the act of coming together every month to think about how to represent Germantown has awakened an awareness inside the committee members that there is a lot of magic to showcase.
Diversity, history and the arts are three of the strongest.
The Classic Towns committee doesn’t just want to advertise these kinds of things, it wants to help grow and develop them too. One hot item around the meeting table earlier this week was creating an arts district within Germantown to connect the arts infrastructure and help open it up to wider audiences.
To that end, the Classic Towns Germantown committee is hosting an artists’ roundtable February 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, 35 W. Chelten Ave.
Next week read more about the proposed Germantown arts district. For more on Germantown Classic Towns click here.