Today we went back into Germantown to research story ideas for our future group projects. We learned about a renovation project through the Central Germantown Council in Vernon Park. Basically the Philadelphia City Planning Commission proposed a neighborhood plan for Germantown that focuses on quality of life issues in Germantown such as crime and safety, vacant lots and buildings and activities for youth. Some of the proposed changes include renovations of Wayne Junction and Germantown transit stations, Vernon Park and Maplewood Mall. This is a really interesting project going on in Germantown and it definitely shows Germantown is progressing forward as a neighborhood.
In the afternoon we went to talk to different businesses and individuals affected by the reconstruction of Germantown Avenue from Nippon Street in Mount Airy to Mermaid Lane in Chestnut Hill. The overall construction is a complete mess – many residents said walking down this particular part of Germantown Avenue is a bit of a hike with construction crews everywhere. We should know ourselves because we were looking for The Trolley Car Diner on Germantown Avenue, which was not far from where we were. However, Germantown Avenue was so crowded with construction crews, we could not even see that the Trolley Car Diner was a mere 2-3 blocks from us. We followed the detour signs for the diner and a half hour later we found it, and we were completely exhausted. Who would have thought even we would be affected by the construction!
We also went to the Brewer’s Outlet where we spoke with the owner who was actually a Temple Alumni. The Brewer’s Outlet, along with The Trolley Car Diner, is part of a coalition called Save Germantown Avenue, which reaches out to helping businesses and residents affected by the constructions. He told us the city of Philadelphia has been very receptive to the issues with the construction (Michael Nutter intends to do more to help), but Governor Rendell’s response has been very poor.
Learning about this coalition was a lot of fun because we got to meet different people in the community and it gave us a yearning to learn more about Germantown and its surrounding areas. We are looking forward to going back!