This is a story about what one Philadelphia city block can do to change its future.
W Rockland Street is a 1-block residential street in the Germantown section of Northwest Philadelphia. We are located between the 4800 blocks of Germantown Avenue and Greene Street, flanked by the 100 blocks of Logan and Wyneva Streets. Zip code: 19144.
The W Rockland Street blog is written by Ainé Doley and Emaleigh Doley, sisters and longtime block residents. Ainé has lived on the block since she was 5 years old! Find out more fun facts and see what they do in real life.
There are 46 three-story, century old row homes on W Rockland Street.
Property types include homeowners, full house-rentals, row homes converted into full apartments, rooming houses and subsidized housing.
Scattered in between houses, there are 6 vacant lots – all maintained by our block residents.
St. Francis of Assisi Parish and The DePaul Catholic School are also part of the block, at the corner of W Rockland and Greene Streets.
Like many neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Germantown has struggled over the years. As a single unit block, W Rockland Street has certainly seen its ups and downs. Four years ago, W Rockland Street was a very different place. People were disconnected, did not often communicate with one another and kept to themselves. A shift in quality of life, which had been growing, became strikingly noticeable. The surrounding neighborhood was also declining in similar ways, with an increase in blight, disrepair, litter and illegal dumping, and escalating crime.
In 2009, W Rockland Street got energized and established a new block committee. Through our regular cleanup activities, improvement projects, community events and block meetings, we have made visible improvements to the streetscape, engaged the community, and rebuilt an organized group of invested block residents (comprised of ALL residents – homeowners and renters).
This is a project being undertaken by citizens of Philadelphia for the betterment and growth of the city. We believe in active citizenship and sweat equity. The impact of creating change you can see is real and much of our work happens on the street in plain sight for that reason. This method gets people interested and excited. We also believe in the power of information. We keep our residents informed and provide valuable information about useful city services, resources, and neighborhood news.
In October 2011, W Rockland Street won a Neighborhood Transformation Award for beautification projects, presented by the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee, an arm of the Streets Department of Philadelphia.
The goal has always been to improve W Rockland Street by creating a cleaner and safer place to live, in effect building a better and more sustainable community. With each block project, the efforts and participation of residents grows! 2011 was a tremendous year (here’s a quick recap of 2011 accomplishments). We know just how big a difference we all can make, one tiny urban intervention at a time, and we can’t wait to see what happens next in 2012 and beyond.
“We are not going to settle for what is, we are going to imagine what might be.”
- President Barack Obama
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