Economic Development

Germantown Business Info Session: Creative Ways of Financing Your Business, Wednesday, March 15

Germantown United CDC’s next Germantown Business Info Session, organized in partnership with The Business Center, will be held on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 from 8am – 9:30am at the Germantown Life Enrichment Center, located at 5722 Greene Street (across from Vernon Park). Start your day with us! Refreshments will be provided.

Meeting Topic

Creative Ways of Financing Your Business
A panel of experts will discuss various ways of financing your business, using loans, equity, and grants.

Panelists

Bill Hughes, Citizens Bank
Veronica Williamson, Santander Bank
Kelbin KC Carolina, Citadel Bank
Calvin Tucker, West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution
Solomon Wheeler, Small Business Administration

Moderator:

Bill Dorsey, The Business Center

Who can attend?

Anyone who owns a local business, or is interested in opening a business in Germantown is welcome to attend. This program is FREE.

To RSVP call (215) 247-2473 ext. 3 or email education@thebizctr.com & info@germantownunitedcdc.org.

About the series

Germantown Business Info Sessions are held bi-monthly and feature invited speakers who give brief presentations about resources that can benefit local businesses, and updates on GUCDC’s work as it relates to the local business community. All sessions include time for attendees to network, ask questions, and talk with Germantown United CDC staff members. 

Save the date: The next Germantown Business Info Sessions will be held on Wednesdays, May 17, July 19, September 20.


First Niagara Foundation color logo

GU’s Germantown Business Info Session series is made possible with support from First Niagara Foundation.

RES to complete Chelten Avenue Commercial Corridor Market Study and Revitalization Strategy

res-logo_9-24Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC) has retained Real Estate Strategies, Inc. (RES) to conduct a market study and develop a revitalization strategy for the Chelten Avenue commercial corridor in Germantown. GUCDC is actively working to bolster and reinforce the vibrancy of Chelten Avenue to meet the needs of the surrounding community, attract visitors from outside the immediate neighborhood, and provide employment opportunities for neighborhood residents. Building on these efforts, the purpose and objectives of this study are to explore opportunities to strengthen and diversify the mix of commercial uses in the corridor, the potential to reuse vacant or underutilized properties, business and job attraction strategies, and available sources of funding to support recommended revitalization strategies.

GUCDC_Corridor_0057_Monique_Brand copy

RES provides advisory services in real estate and economic development and has extensive experience in preparing market analyses and developing revitalization strategies for commercial corridors and neighborhoods in Philadelphia and throughout the greater mid-Atlantic region. Additionally, RES principals have over 25 years of experience working on development plans and initiatives in the Germantown neighborhood. Careful market research underpins all RES engagements, with the understanding that the best business attraction and economic development strategies begin with a realistic understanding of market dynamics.

The mission of Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC) is to promote and facilitate the revitalization of the business corridors in the Germantown neighborhood of Northwest Philadelphia through a sustainable, creative, and community-driven approach to economic development. Learn more at www.germantownunitedcdc.org.

Germantown Second Saturday Festival is Saturday, May 14, 2016, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR SATURDAY, MAY 14, 2016

Historic Germantown and Germantown United CDC present
Germantown Second Saturday Festival, Saturday, May 14
Eat. Shop. Play. Learn. Experience Germantown!

WHAT: Germantown Second Saturday Festival, presented by Historic Germantown and Germantown United Community Development Corporation. Featuring: A pop-up dance performance by BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet; Art & Craft Marketplace; Live Music; Food Trucks; Historic Re-enactors; Family Friendly Programs; Free Bus Tours to Historic Germantown Sites; and more.

WHEN: Saturday, May 14, 2016 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Market Square Park (5501 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19144); Germantown Avenue between School House Lane and Coulter Street

Germantown, Philadelphia, PA – The Germantown Second Saturday Festival will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2016 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Northwest Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood. The festival will take place along a one-block stretch of Germantown Avenue, between School House Lane and Coulter Street, and surround Market Square Park (5501 Germantown Avenue). Rain or shine.

The community festival, presented by Historic Germantown and Germantown United Community Development Corporation, invites the public to experience Germantown. The festival will celebrate the kick-off the Second Saturday series–when all 16 Historic Germantown sites are open monthly–and showcase the many thriving cultural, civic and business attractions and activities that make Germantown an exciting place to live and visit.

BalletX LogoThroughout the day, musicians, poets, and creative performing artists will take to the main stage on Germantown Avenue. BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet, will present a 45-minute pop-up dance performance from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., thanks to generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. BalletX unites distinguished choreographers with an outstanding company of world-class dancers to forge new works of athleticism, emotion, and grace.

Musical talent includes popular local artists: Amari Rebel, Bethleham and Sad Patrick, Clef Club Youth Jazz Ensemble, Jim Dragoni, and many others. Germantown resident Yolanda Wisher, the City of Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate, will host the festivities.

Visitors will learn about Historic Germantown’s 16 extraordinary historic houses, destinations, and museums at the festival, including Awbury Arboretum, Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, Grumblethrope, and Wyck. The adventurous can board free bus tours to Historic Germantown sites, located throughout Germantown, departing from the Festival’s main area (register for bus tours in advance at freedomsbackyard.com). Throughout the day, historic reenactors will share neighborhood history.

Pictured: Market Square Park

Over 30 vendors will participate in the Art & Craft Marketplace, coordinated by Germantown United CDC. Local Germantown eateries and visiting food trucks including The Lunchbox, a specialty peanut butter and jelly food cart, will be on-site. Attendees can also get to know many of Germantown’s civic and community organizations, including Episcopal Youth Mission, Friends of Vernon Park, Germantown Artists Roundtable, and Germantown Life Enrichment Center. Alongside Germantown United CDC, city planners from the Philadelphia City Planning Commission will share development plans for key Germantown sites.

The Germantown Second Saturday Festival is a new venture, and combines Germantown United CDC’s Re-imagining Maplewood Mall Festival and Historic Germantown’s Second Saturday Season Opener. In an effort to bring renewed attention and interest to a little-used neighborhood park and public space and more broadly promote the Second Saturday series, Germantown United CDC relocated their annual spring festival to Market Square Park and joined forces with Historic Germantown.

Schedule of Live Music & Performances

Performance start times are approximate.

12:00 p.m. Festival Start Time
12:00 p.m. Welcome and Kick-off from Yolanda Wisher, City of Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate
12:10 p.m. Settlement Music School Adult Jazz Band
12:30 p.m. Wissahickon Dance Academy (modern and jazz)
1:00 p.m. BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet
1:45 p.m. Irma Gartner as “Dinah” (historical reenactor)
2:00 p.m. Bethlehem and Sad Patrick (singer/guitarist)
2:12 p.m. Adam Monoco (singer/mandolin)
2:25 p.m. Clef Club Youth Jazz Ensemble
2:43 p.m. Lillian Hightower (vocalist)
2:55 p.m. Yolanda Wisher and the Culture Keepers (poetry)
3:05 p.m. Wissahickon Dance Academy (tap and hiphop)
3:15 p.m. Jim Dragoni (musician)
3:30 p.m. Karen Smith (drummer)
3:50 p.m. Dominique London (poetry/vocalist)
4:05 p.m. Amari Rebel (singer/drummer – band)
4:20 p.m. Ashley Phillips (vocalist)
4:40 p.m. prod (drummers/band)
4:55 p.m. Yolanda Wisher (poet)
5:00 p.m. Festival End Time

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Public Transit & Parking

The festival is accessible by SEPTA. Bus Routes: 23 Bus, XH Bus; Chestnut Hill East Regional Rail: Germantown Station (150 E Chelten Ave). Visit septa.org for schedules.

Street parking is available beyond the festival grounds. The 5400 block of Germantown Ave and the unit block of E Church Ln will be closed to all traffic from 7 a.m.  – 7 p.m. for the Festival.

Free off-street parking is available thanks to our generous community partners. Parking lots are located at:

Citizens Bank Lot
5500 Germantown Ave (enter lot from W Schoolhouse Ln)

Wells Fargo Lot
5500 Germantown Ave (enter lot from W Schoolhouse Ln)

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church & Germantown Friends School Lot
SE Corner of 5300 block of Germantown Ave & E Coulter St (enter lot from Germantown Ave or E Coulter St)

About

Historic Germantown
Historic Germantown is a partnership organization serving historic sites in Philadelphia’s Old German Township that works collaboratively to preserve its extraordinary historic assets, increase access, interpret them to the public and raise their visibility. Learn more at freedomsbackyard.com.

Germantown United CDC
The mission of Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC) is to promote and facilitate the revitalization of the business corridors in the Germantown neighborhood of Northwest Philadelphia through a sustainable, creative, and community-driven approach to economic development. Learn more at http://germantownunitedcdc.org.

BalletX
BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet, unites distinguished choreographers with an outstanding company of world-class dancers to forge new works of athleticism, emotion, and grace. Founded in 2005 by Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan, and now under the direction of Cox as Artistic & Executive Director, BalletX challenges the boundaries of classical ballet by encouraging formal experimentation while preserving rigorous technique. The company is committed to producing new works of the highest quality and integrity that bring the combined visions of choreographers and dancers to life and cultivate in audiences a collective appetite for bold, new dance.

With generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, in its 10th Anniversary 2015-16 Season BalletX presents a series of 10 free pop-up performances around the Philadelphia community. Visit www.BalletX.org to find out where the company will be next!

Press Contacts

Emaleigh Doley
Commercial Corridor Manager
Germantown United CDC
610-331-3758 (mobile)
215-856-4303
edoley@germantownunitedcdc.org  

Trapeta Mayson
Executive Director
Historic Germantown
215-844-1683, Ext. 101
tmayson@freedomsbackyard.com

# # #

Shape Chelten Ave: Rapid Planning Project with The American Planning Association, May 16-20

apa-logoGermantown United CDC applied for and received the American Planning Association’s Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) to conduct a brief and focused planning effort on a small area of Germantown. Since GUCDC’s focus is on commercial corridors, the portion of West Chelten Avenue between Morris Street and Greene Street was selected as the study area.

The CPAT consists of volunteer urban planners and professionals from all over the country who come into an area to work for one week’s time, as part of a rapid planning process. Our project will take place during the week of May 16-20, 2016 and include two public events on May 16 and May 19. You’re invited to participate! Residents, business owners, and other stakeholders will be asked to contribute their local knowledge and ideas towards building a collective vision of this commercial corridor.

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Events

1. Monday, May 16th at 6:30PM
Interactive planning/design workshop to gather community input | Share on Facebook

2. Thursday, May 19th at 6:30PM
Presentation of the results and discussion | Share on Facebook

Both public meetings will be held at the Pegasus Room at The Flying Horse Center, located at 5534 Pulaski Ave (Chelten and Pulaski). During the week, the Community Planning Assistance Team will be using the Imperfect Gallery at 5601 Greene St as their central workspace and headquarters (stop in and say hello). To RSVP to either event, email info@germantownunitedcdc.org or call 215-856-4303.

GUCDC-APA-Flyer

Project Background

Since 2014, Germantown United CDC (GUCDC) has been working with several other groups in Germantown to seek planning resources for Germantown. (Organizational partners include: Historic Germantown, Germantown Community Connection, G’town Restoration CDC, the City Planning Commission.) In that spirit, GUCDC applied for and received the American Planning Association’s Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) to conduct a brief and focused planning effort on a small portion of Germantown.

West Chelten Avenue between Morris Street and Greene Street was selected as the study area. This stretch includes one of Germantown’s busiest SEPTA train stations and bus stops, one of the most dangerous intersections in Philadelphia for pedestrians/vehicular accidents (Wayne Ave/Chelten Ave), along with a large swath of vacant properties with lots of potential (former CareerLink building; former House of Jin property; continued vacancies at Chelten Plaza; etc.) along with many other key spaces (Mastery Picket Charter School, the Burgess Center, the former-Pathmark building, and more).

We hope that the results of this project, which will be shared and available to the public, will give all of us who are dedicated to bringing jobs and economic improvement to Germantown some new tools to achieve that end. There is value in keeping the momentum going, and the focus on a critical part of Chelten Avenue.

About the American Planning Association

The American Planning Association provides leadership in the development of vital communities by advocating excellence in planning, promoting education and citizen empowerment, and providing our members with the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change.

Through the Community Planning Assistance Team program, the APA organizes volunteer planning teams tailored specifically to a community’s needs. Members offer their time and expertise to people and places where additional resources are needed. This program is supported through donations.

Why CPAT?

  • By pairing a multidisciplinary team of expert planning professionals from around the country with community members, key stakeholders, and relevant decision makers, the place-based initiative seeks to foster community education, engagement, and empowerment.
  • Each team is selected for the specific expertise needed on the project to offer pro bono assistance in developing a framework or vision plan that promotes a sustainable, livable, economically vibrant, and healthy community.
  • Communities facing a range of challenges including, but not limited to, social equity and affordability, economic development, sustainability, consensus building, and urban design are well-suited for assistance through the program.
  • Projects focus on localities with a demonstrated need for assistance, where planning resources and expertise may not otherwise be available.
  • CPAT projects are collaborative efforts with shared responsibilities. CPATs and communities work together throughout the process.
  • APA contributes the time of its staff and volunteer experts while the recipient communities cover travel costs.

Meet Germantown’s Community Planning Assistance Team and read more about this project on the American Planning Association website.

Germantown United CDC is a finalist in the Knight Cities Challenge!

knight-cities-challenge-logoGermantown United CDC is 1 of 158 finalists in The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Cities Challenge!

Civic innovators from across the country submitted more than 4,500 ideas to this year’s challenge. Submissions came from many nonprofit and government organizations, as well as design experts, urban planning organizations and individuals focused on making their cities more successful.

Here’s our one sentence pitch:

Beyond the Census: Building a Positive Data Story of a Community’s Human Resources
Increasing economic opportunity by discovering new data about underserved neighborhoods that attract new businesses and investment.

Germantown neighborhood is well-represented, with three projects proposed by Germantown residents making the final round – congratulations also to Amanda Staples and Vashti DuBois! Winners will be announced in Spring 2016. Stay tuned.

Read more:

158 finalists move forward in the Knight Cities Challenge

Philly Has More Knight Cities Challenge Finalists Than Anyone Else

First Look at New Neighborhood Website for Germantown

GermantownUnited-PunkAve-homepage-draft for publicGermantown United CDC is excited to share the design drafts for the long-awaited online business directory and neighborhood website for Germantown, launching in early 2016.

GUCDC received a grant from the Philadelphia Commerce Department to develop the website, which will promote the revitalization of Germantown’s business corridors by formally connecting businesses throughout the corridor and raising awareness and support in the community.

The new website will feature:

  • Business Directory will promote Germantown as a great place to shop and visit, and encourage future investment and revitalization of the commercial corridor; local businesses will have the opportunity to customize their listings!
  • Suggested Itineraries will guide residents and visitors to points of interest in the neighborhood and highlight nearby shops and places to eat within walking distance from these sites.
  • Events Calendar will provide a calendar feature for posting of community events and meetings.
  • Resources for Residents & Businesses will include information specific to businesses, and address the needs of community residents.
  • Maps will highlight destinations that may not be well-known currently in Germantown.
Participants at GU's website workshop helped to guide the look and feel of the site.

Participants at GU’s website workshop helped to guide the look and feel of the site.

The Philadelphia-based website development company P’unk Avenue was selected as the firm to assist in building the website.

As part of the research process, the development team toured Germantown, and interviewed residents, the owners of local businesses, and other stakeholders about amenities, attractions, and businesses in our community, and the potential needs of both residents and tourists when it comes to accessing information online. We also held a small workshop with prospective site users at the Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust.

In the coming months, we’ll be working with Germantown businesses and attractions to get them listed in the business directory. If you have questions, or would like your business listed on Germantown’s new website, contact us.

Design Mockups of This Is Germantown

Please note, this is not the final design of the website. The text and photography included in these mockups may not appear on the final website; the images/text were used to help inform the design process and are placeholders for final images and text. We are looking forward to working with local photographers to source photos for the website and businesses & organizations to create original copy that is reflective of each individual business or organization.

(click to enlarge images or view in a separate window)

draft of the homepage

GermantownUnited-PunkAve-homepage-draft for public

an example of how featured events & neighborhood news will be highlighted

GermantownUnited-PunkAve-events-draft fo public

draft of the business directory section

GermantownUnited-PunkAve-draft for public

an example of how neighborhood itineraries will be featured – community members will have the opportunity to suggest an itinerary!GermantownUnited-PunkAve-itineraries-draft for public

Germantown In the News: November + December 2015

newsboyGermantown is in the news! Germantown United CDC staff pick your must-reads of the month, with a focus on business, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization news.

Suggested reading

Favorite quotes

“The ultimate objective is to present a better Germantown.” – Joe Martin, owner of Acclaim Academy

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Joe Martin discussing with fellow Germantown business owner. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Neighborhoods.

“On the bright fall morning I visited, Vernon Park was performing according to plan. A half-dozen preschoolers dashed around the playground, their parents and caregivers taking in the sunshine. A couple strolled the paths hand-in-hand while a medical assistant walked briskly to do an errand…” – Inga Saffron, The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Read the full story in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Painters and dancers are transforming our Germantown community in the most amazing way. Art is an equalizer. It levels the playing field.”  – Jim Hamilton, Rittenhouse Soundworks

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Rittenhouse Soundworks, a brand new 74’ x 62’ performance facility with exposed brick walls and a cathedral-style wooden ceiling in Germantown. Photo by Jim Albert/Full Frame Fotography via Chestnut Hill Local.

“Center City is important to Philadelphia’s health and it always will be, but we cannot ignore the commercial corridors that extend beyond that if we want to have a strong, growing small-business community, a meaningful increase in employment for Philadelphians of color, reduced crime, and a more strong and diversified economy for the long term.” – Mayor-elect Jim Kenney

 

Germantown United CDC featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer today

Parks can be a powerful tool to rescue struggling commercial areas. Pulitzer prize-winning writer Inga Saffron, architecture critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, recently visited Germantown to tour the newly renovated Vernon Park, which fronts Germantown’s central business district. Read her take on the park’s comeback, neighborhood revitalization, and rising development in Germantown.

The article features Ruth Seeley, the president of the Friends of Vernon Park – the organization that courageously led the charge for the park renovations – alongside Germantown United CDC’s new Commercial Corridor Manager Emaleigh Doley, who discussed the challenges impacting efforts to improve the nearby shopping district.

This is an exciting time for Germantown. If you are energized about the neighborhood’s potential, consider joining one of the many civic groups – like Friends of Vernon Park, your local Registered Community Organization (RCO), or GU’s own volunteer committee – and get involved in moving Germantown forward!

read the full story in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia-Inquirer-Inga-Saffron-2015.11.06

read the full story

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