Look, it's a tough economy, we all have to make do. Perhaps when you were young, you made tie-dye T-shirts in the basement of your friend's house and took them to Phish shows and sold them outside the stadium without a permit. Or maybe you sold extra tickets outside of TLA on South Street. We've even seen people offering tickets in front of the Kimmel Center; who knows how much those Emanuel Ax seats went for? The point is: Why not nerd events? (And when we say, "nerd," we say it with love. Philadelphia is blessedly full of nerds and geeks, and we wouldn't have the economic development we do without them.)
This is the third nerdy event in a matter of days that's totally sold out, and no surprise: It's a good one. The idea behind it is planning for a transformation of Germantown, an area of the city that's distressingly ... distressed considering its rich historical pedigree.
There are people who grow up in Philadelphia who have literally never been to Germantown. They have no idea that it's easily the equal of many other historic sites that children in buddy lines are driven through like cattle. Despite its remarkable historic pedigree, the focus is usually on articles like this one from the New York Times. That doesn't help.
The group Germantown United CDC, founded last year, is trying to change things. "Germantown is an incredible neighborhood, with endless historical and cultural assets," says Emaleigh Doley, a Germantown resident and member of the Germantown United CDC's steering committee. "It's true that over the years, the neighborhood has taken a hit, to put it mildly. Now, if ever, is the time for Germantown to move forward." Doley is encouraged by what she's seen: a steady rise in community organizing, citizen planning and participation in development issues. "It's development of the neighborhood's business corridors and blighted and vacant land that will play a major role in shaping Germantown's future," she says, "which is why Germantown United CDC's focus begins with sustainable commercial corridor development. We want to see business districts operating at their fullest potential, facilitating further redevelopment in Germantown and stimulating economic growth."
To get things going, the group is sponsoring its first public event tonight, which is SOLD OUT (but you should still try to go). Tonight's panel on how to build a strong CDC includes Colvin W. Grannum, president of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the nation's first CDC, founded by Robert Kennedy and Jacob Javits in 1967. Other panelists are Andy Frishkoff, Executive Director, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); Barbara Hogue, Executive Director, Historic Germantown; Steve Mullin, Senior Vice President & Principal, Econsult; Rick Sauer, Executive Director, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations; and Sandy Salzman, Executive Director, New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC). Seriously, you should go.
WHAT: Re-Stimulate! Re-Invigorate! ReDEVELOP! Germantown’s Commercial Corridor
WHEN: Wed., Feb. 29, 7-9:30pm
WHERE: Germantown Friends School, Yarnell Auditorium in the Sharpless Building, 31 West Coulter St. (19144), from 7–9:30 p.m.