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What one Philadelphia city block can do to change its future.

Let’s talk about Community Development Corporations, Feb. 29th in Germantown

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By Emaleigh | What’s so important about commercial corridor development? In a city of neighborhoods with their own commercial hubs and transportation centers and people bustling about, everything!

On Wednesday, February 29th, Germantown United CDC will present a panel exploring best practices of Community Development Corporations (CDCs) featuring experts from around the city including Rick Sauer, Executive Director, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations and Sandy Salzman, Executive Director, New Kensington Community Development Corporation. Special guests include Colvin W. Grannum, President of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in Brooklyn, which is the nation’s first CDC.

Given Germantown’s storied history, this conversation is important to have as we work towards revitalizing the neighborhood. (For a little background on corruption in the neighborhood, see Emanuel Freeman: The Man Who Duped City Hall.)

F W. Woolworth opened on the east side of Germantown Avenue below Chelten in 1910. Courtesy of Germantown Reunion.

I joined the Steering Committee of Germantown United CDC a few months ago to help get the new CDC off the ground and appoint the first board who will work towards promoting and facilitating the sustainable community and business corridor development of Germantown.

Anyone interested in learning more about how Germantown can grow through development should attend the panel which will be held at Germantown Friends School, Yarnell Auditorium in the Sharpless Building, 31 West Coulter Street (19144), from 7 – 9: 30 p.m. RSVP required. To RSVP, please email feedback@germantownunitedcdc.org.

Read on for complete details!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2012

Planning for a neighborhood’s transformation & Germantown’s resurgence, Expert panel exploring Community Development Corporation (CDC) best practices, Wednesday, Feb. 29th, presented by Germantown United CDC

Featuring Keynote Speaker Colvin W. Grannum, President of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation & Panelists Andy Frishkoff (LISC), Barbara Hogue (GHS), Steve Mullin (ECONSULT), Rick Sauer (PACDC) & Sandy Salzman (NKCDC)

GERMANTOWN, PHILADELPHIA, PA – Northwest Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood, one of the most historic in the nation, is gearing up for a resurgence after years of corruption and neglect. Throughout the region, citizens are organizing, their work collectively building, speaking to the enormous potential for neighborhood transformation and transcendence driven by grass-roots efforts.

On Wednesday, February 29th, Germantown United CDC (GU CDC) will present its first community event – Re-Stimulate! Re-Invigorate! ReDEVELOP! Germantown’s Commercial Corridor – an expert panel exploring best practices of Community Development Corporations. All concerned citizens, neighborhood organizations, community stakeholders and city officials are invited to hear from and engage with a panel of experts and learn how productive and people-oriented CDCs function to create sustainable communities and commercial corridors.

The panel will be held at Germantown Friends School, Yarnell Auditorium in the Sharpless Building, 31 West Coulter Street (19144), from 7 – 9: 30 p.m. RSVP required. To RSVP, please email feedback@germantownunitedcdc.org or call (215) 991-5711.

Understanding the role of a CDC

Germantown United was founded in 2011 in response to the pressing need for a viable, accountable and effective Community Development Corporation in Germantown. The mission of GU CDC is to develop a community-guided vision for Germantown, which prioritizes sustainable development and preserves the historic integrity of the neighborhood.

Inspired by the history and transformation of Brooklyn’s Bed Stuy neighborhood, GU CDC is proud to have, as the keynote speaker and member of the expert panel, Colvin W. Grannum, President of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (BSRC), which is the nation’s first CDC, founded by Robert Kennedy and Jacob Javits in 1967. BSRC owns and manages a 300,000 square foot commercial and cultural center in the heart of Central Brooklyn, which is home to the Billie Holiday Theatre, the Skylight Gallery, the College of New Rochelle, three banks and several major retailers. Mr. Grannum has served as President of BSRC since March 2001. Under his leadership, Restoration is experiencing a robust resurgence.

The panel of experts will include: Andy Frishkoff, Executive Director, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); Barbara Hogue, Executive Director, Historic GermantownSteve Mullin, Senior Vice President & Principal, EconsultRick Sauer, Executive Director, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations; and Sandy Salzman, Executive Director, New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC).

Community leaders and stakeholders based in Germantown, members of Germantown United CDC Steering Committee and others will be in attendance. Confirmed special guests include: newly elected 8th District Councilwoman Cindy Bass; State Representative Rosita Youngblood, 198th Legislative District; State Senator Shirley Kitchen, 3rd District; Representatives from The Philadelphia Department of Commerce; and Representatives from Philadelphia City Planning Commission.

Why commercial corridor development?

A recent New York Times article about the growing income gap and shrinking middle-class in the country’s metropolitan areas used Germantown as a case study, describing Chelten Avenue as “a hard-luck strip of check-cashing stores and takeout restaurants.” The portrait of Germantown painted in the article is up for debate, but the attention to the neighborhood’s commercial corridors is important.

Germantown United CDC is committed to fostering sustainable economic growth and development. The primary initial goal is to see that the neighborhood’s commercial corridors are studied, developed and transformed to serve the neighborhood, attract shoppers, history buffs, diners, art and music lovers, cultural enthusiasts and more.

“The Germantown community is more united now than it has been in many years. The time has come for us to seize the momentum we have created together and redevelop Germantown’s commercial corridors in such a sustainable way that it will serve as a national model to be admired and emulated. This, our first public panel presentation, marks the beginning of a new era in Germantown,” said John Churchville, member of the GU CDC Steering Committee.

Germantown United CDC is currently functioning through a Steering Committee of volunteers who are serving as an interim Board of Directors until the initial Board is selected. GU CDC is seeking candidates interested in serving on the inaugural Board. Individuals interested in applying for the Board are directed to contact feedback@germantownunitedcdc.org for additional information and proper forms. Applications are due by March 7, 2012.

For more information about Germantown United CDC, visit www.germantownunitedcdc.org.

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Press Contact: GUCDC Communications Committee
e. pr@germantownunitedcdc.org

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