PhillyRising brings ‘training wheels’ to Southwest Germantown improvement effort

Thursday marked the ceremonial launch of PhillyRising Collaborative’s cooperative effort to address quality-of-life issues in Southwest Germantown.

“We’re here to help you realize the vision you have for the community,” said Jim Sanders, assistant managing director of PhillyRising’s Northwest Philadelphia efforts.

Sanders — who will oversee efforts to address neighborhood concerns about safety, abandoned lots and a variety of quality-of-life issues — joined community members and activists at the Southside Church Center, 5058 Wayne Ave.

“This is the beginning of a story that Germantown can speak to,” Sanders told the launch-event audience. “There are people in this community that care and want to be part of the conversation. … This is a great neighborhood and there are a lot of things we can do to bring it to the next level.”

Feedback commences

The issue of abandoned lots in the area left attendees voicing their frustrations with a lack of City response.

Sanders said the PhillyRising cohort hopes streamline services to connect with already existing community groups.

“We can keep things going, and that’s what it’s really about,” said Sanders. “We’re the training wheels.”

Eighth District Councilwoman Cindy Bass was on hand for Thursday’s gathering.

“We’re not perfection. There is no perfection,” said Bass. “But, we work hard to try to get things done for you.”

Connecting an array of community groups

Although the presence of PhillyRising will, ideally, help fast-track solutions to already existing problems, communication and teamwork among neighborhood groups remains key.

Maxwell Brown, a member of the PhillyRising team, stressed the importance of communicating issues and concerns that neighbors see around them.

“We’re here to empower you,” said Brown. “This is how you empower your community.”

Aine and Emaleigh Doley, of West Rockland Street, encouraged the audience to form a united front to bring about the changes that the neighborhood seeks.

“It’s going to take all of us to work together,” said Aine Doley. “This is about power in numbers.”

The next step for PhillyRising and community members is to observe the area, take inventory of issues and focus on what concerns will be prioritized.

Sanders said he plans to schedule the next meeting date in the very near future.

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