On Saturday, June 21 over two dozen planters and tree pits will be planted with vibrant annuals and perennials on a two-block stretch of Germantown Avenue between Penn Street and Bringhurst Street. The zone was selected by Tree Germantown and the W Rockland Street Project as a corridor greening pilot experiment.
Despite lacking a formal business association, this lesser-known Germantown business district is full of life with the addition of two new businesses, Sandalwood Yoga Studio and the soul food restaurant Tasties.
There are also three building renovations underway including new construction for Around The Clock Home Health Care just before Penn Street, developer Ken Weinstein’s renovation of the 6-story building at 5301 Germantown Avenue, and Stan Smith’s renovation of 5320 Germantown Avenue. Tracy McNeil, owner of the yoga studio at 5310 Germantown Avenue, recently completed a historic renovation of the property which includes the storefront studio on the street-level and apartments on the upper floors (read about the renovation at NewsWorks.org).
Aine Doley (that’s me!) and Penn Knox resident Amy Steinbugler went door-to-door to pitch the planting project and discuss the benefits of bringing greenery to Germantown Avenue. Many businesses were eager to join the effort, but some took convincing.
Those who declined to participate raised concerns about the plantings being able to survive the urban environment and the shoppers who frequent businesses along the corridor. Will the planters be stolen? Will passersby put trash in the planters? One business owner believed that people would urinate in the planters and sit on them while waiting for the 23 bus.
The participating businesses and organizations willing to give greenery a chance in the neighborhood include:
- Sandalwood Yoga Studio at 5310 Germantown Ave
- The One Less Foundation at 5275 Germantown Ave inside the historic Clarkson-Watson House (circa 1740)
- Grumblethorpe at 5267 Germantown Ave, John Wister’s historic summer home built in 1744
- Bargain Thrift at 5245 Germantown Ave
- Around The Clock Home Health Care at 5226 Germantown Ave (current location)
- Tasties at 5241 Germantown Ave
- Kbello Kolors Hair Salon (tentative) at 5237 Germantown Ave
- 5301 Germantown Ave (building currently being renovated by Ken Weinstein / Philly Office Retail)
- 5320 Germantown Ave (building currently being renovated Stan Smith / Philly Office Retail)
Each participating business is contributing $25 per planter and has agreed to care for and water the new plants in front of their business. This project was made possible through generous donations from our community partners, who have helped to subsidize the costs of materials: Historic Germantown, Germantown United CDC, G’Town Restoration CDC, and the City of Philadelphia’s PhillyRising initiative, which selected Germantown as a Philly Rising 2.0 neighborhood in early February.
As Germantown continues to grow, Tree Germantown and the W Rockland Street Project will continue to push for greening and tree planting in our neighborhood.
Volunteering during the planting day is a great way to meet neighbors and get to know local business owners. Join us on Saturday, June 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign-up and visit facebook.com/treegermantown for additional volunteer information.
Thanks again to our sponsors!