Neighborhood News

Keep up with all things Germantown! We post resources and opportunities for local businesses and entrepreneurs, news about community-driven planning efforts and the equitable development of Germantown, and relevant programs and events for residents.


Flying Kite Media: GUCDC Sustainability

If you’re a Northwest Philly resident looking to be a bit more green in your daily life, you’re in luck. On Wednesday, May 8, the Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC) is hosting a community forum — entitled “It IS Easy Being Green” — focused on how residents and businesses can have a positive environmental and economic impact on their community.

The event is the second annual community forum sponsored by GUCDC, a relatively new organization dedicated to the well-being of Germantown.

“We planned the first forum specifically to introduce GUCDC to the community,” explains GUCDC’s Garlen Capita. “We wanted to answer the question, ‘What does a CDC do?'”

According to Capita, that event was so successful that they decided to use the same format this year while shifting the focus to sustainability. Like last year’s forum, this gathering is all about educating and disseminating information to the community.

“We want everyone who lives and works in Germantown to know that they have the power and the tools to improve the quality of life in their community,” says Capita. “Hence the title, ‘It IS Easy Being Green.'”

It IS Easy Being Green

GU’s Second Annual Forum is May 8, 2013 6-9pm at Flying Horse Center 312-316 West Chelten Avenue. Come see how you can make Germantown more Sustainable. Opening remarks by Councilwoman Cindy Bass. Space is limited, so please RSVP:

PANELISTS Robert Fleming Director of Sustainable Design at Philadelphia University. Dwayne Wharton Director of External Affairs, The Food Trust. Kelly Maillie PHS Roots to Re-Entry -Green Job Training and Placement Program Aine Doley and Emaleigh Doley, sisters and co-organizers of the W Rockland Street Project, a citizen-driven effort to revitalize one street in Southwest. Vivian Nabeta Director of Arts, Culture and Tourism for the City of New Haven, Connecticut, where they’ve launch Project Storefronts. Zack Bird, a Germantown-based artist and muralist who has developed a method to use faux finishing to cover graffiti. Christine Knapp, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Philadelphia Water Department.

TRADE SHOW PARTICIPANTS Awbury Arboretum * Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia * Friends of Vernon Park * Kelly Green * PhilaNOMA * Rebuilding Together Philadelphia Sustainable Business Network * Tookany-Tacony-Frankford * Watershed (TTF) * Wyck Historic House and Garden * 



Goldtex, After The War

Article on Josh Guilbert of Post Brothers, and GU Board member, in Hidden City.

Coat of many colors: the metamorphosis of Goldtex | Photo: Bradley Maule

“We have a budget, and we’re sticking to it,” states product director Josh Guelbart. This matter-of-fact assessment underscores Post Brothers’ momentous progress after the September ceasefire in the infamous Goldtex trade union standoff. “Now we’re focused on getting our building done.”

Considering the attention that’s been paid the contentious project, reaching a point nearing completion has been no small feat. And yet, Goldtex is nearly ready to rent—and on budget. While the lobby and leasing office are still being finished, tours began last week for prospective lessees at the 163-unit apartment building.

Even in its mid-metamorphosis state, Goldtex is a benchmark in the transition of the neighborhood, call it Callowhill, or the Loft District, or Chinatown North, or Eraserhood. The former shoe factory, built in 1904, is undergoing an extreme makeover designed by KlingStubbins, whose extensive local legacy includes Penn Center, Independence Mall, and more recently, the USPS’ Mail Operation and Delivery Unit at 30th & Chestnut. It’s also worth noting that KlingStubbins is the architect of the mixed use tower proposed by Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation on just the other side of the Reading Viaduct from Goldtex.

Germantown’s Flying Horse Center showcases street art


The Flying Horse Center in Germantown is best known for its industrial reuse story. In 2010, the Community Design Collaborative chose the 85-year-old parking garage, which had been transformed into a multi-use community center, as a model of adaptive reuse in its Retooling Industrial Sites exhibit.

With most of the 55,000-square-foot facility leased and the final phase of office flex space being built, owner Stan Smith is once again using the hulking structure as a leading example of how to combat some of Philly’s chronic urban woes. This time he’s taking on another form of neighborhood blight: graffiti. In a page out of Jane Golden’s playbook, he’s allowing local artists to use portions of the Flying Horse Center’s facade as a showcase for street art.

“The building gets so much exposure because of its central location right next to the train stop,” explains Smith. “The graffiti that plagued the building was sending the wrong message. It made me mad.”

Article on Zach Bird- One of the Panelists at GU’s Sustainability Forum

Check out Inquirer Article on one of the panelists for GUCDC’s Sustainability Forum

Germantown resident turns cleanup artist

By Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist

POSTED: April 08, 2013
Zack Bird paints walls. He does pretty well creating murals and faux finishes for Palm steak joints across the country, and in some of the nicer homes across the region.

Bird has a second, stealth job unpainting walls.

Specifically, he paints over graffiti on walls and bridges in public spaces, along the river drives, and in the Wissahickon, “the thing I love most about Philadelphia.” Call it faux unfinishing.

It’s his one-man beautification project. Instead of Lady Bird, we have Zack Bird.

“I’m just doing my little part,” said Bird, 43, the son of two artists, who grew up in Mount Airy and now resides one neighborhood over in Germantown. “How can you grow up near the Wissahickon and not be entranced with the stonework?”

So this is a story that reveals how one person doing one thing is helping the city and making our lives better.

Bird has taken his talent and applied it, literally, for free to restoring what was. “I don’t want to compete with graffiti artists, although the art hasn’t developed much in the last 20 years,” he said. “But I want it out of the parks. It’s an eyesore. They’re vandals, not artists. There’s nothing cool about defacing other works of art and public property.”

Since December, Bird has completed a dozen reclamation projects, along Kelly and Lincoln Drives, a retaining wall near Cresheim Creek,

Germantown’s PARK(ing) day features artistic energy, civic collaboration

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September 23, 2012
By Alaina Mabaso for NewsWorks

Germantown residents didn’t seem to mind giving up several parking spaces for some unorthodox temporary arts and community installations which were part of an international event which came to the neighborhood on Friday.

Germantown’s 2012 PARK(ing) Day participants said that their stations, set up in metered parking spaces commandeered worldwide for the day-long event, attracted many curious passersby.

On the 300 block of W. Chelten Ave., the Germantown United Community Development Corporation rolled several giant triangular boards into two parking spaces.

Nerd-Event Scalper Now an Official Job Title in Philly

Wednesday, February 29, 2012, by Liz Spikol

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.”

(Philly Curbed)

G’TOWN Radio Podcast- Yvonne Haskins

In our first installment of G-town Radio’s new podcast series, The Northwest Soapbox, attorney Yvonne Haskins of Germantown United CDC speaks about Germantown’s prominent past, recent struggles and community reemergence.

Yvonne Haskins is the co-chair of the Germantown United CDC Program Committee and the informal advisor on zoning/land use questions.

The Northwest Soapbox is a platform for the people of Northwest Philadelphia to offer commentary, share news or make a call for action. Each week a different person speaks to issues affecting our community. Want to get on the soapbox? Contact us at: