Germantown’s Center in the Park turns 45

Germantown’s Center in the Park celebrated its 45th anniversary on Thursday night with a mixture of jazz and line dancing to thank nearly 200 of its members.

Brannon Johnson, the center’s program director, said it was important to celebrate the people behind the scenes as the facility remembered nearly half a century of success.

“I think Center in the Park has really become a cornerstone in the community,” said Johnson.

A community hub

Center in the Park, located in the heart of Vernon Park, offers services like arts and fitness for local seniors.

“It’s important to have a gathering place — a home outside of your home — where you can come and socialize and be around other people who are like you, going through similar experiences of aging,” said Marie-Monique Marthol-Clark, who has been the center’s health promotion coordinator for the last five years.

“This is part of my social life,” said Martha Lambert, a member who enjoys the center’s tap dance and guitar programs. “My social calendar is filled up with AARP stuff and Center in the Park stuff.”

Robert Bailey, 74, said he participates in classes on history, stress and first aid.

The 20-year member said more locals could benefit by becoming members.

“A lot of people that live around here don’t know this place exists,” said Bailey.

Haley Kmetz and Taisje Claiborne are students at Temple University. Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a NewsWorks content partner, is an initiative of the Temple Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.

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