Tower demolition to start Germantown resurgence?

After years of stagnation, Germantown may be on the brink of resurgence, with both city agencies and neighborhood groups pitching in.

“I believe some of the current plans under way for Germantown are going to bring it back to its potential,” said Betty Turner, organizer of civic umbrella group Germantown Community Connection.

One such effort is the planning commission’s Transit-Oriented Plan, whose centerpiece is the planned demolition of the 16-story PHA-owned West Queen Lane Apartments.

“[The plan] is all contingent on the redevelopment of the apartments and how that has been this big blighting force on the neighborhood for the past few decades. It has a big psychological impact on folks that live there and people that have an interest in investing there,” project manager Michael Wysong said.

One Germantown resident and advocate, however, remains skeptical of revitalization.

“PHA talks a good game, but the problem is they don’t monitor their programs,” said Aine Doley, who along with sister Emaleigh has planted gardens and led cleanups. “As far as the transit plan, I’ve started to just ignore it because I’m tired of hearing updates that never happen.”

But Doley recently saw some positive change when Mayor Michael Nutter sped up demolition of several vacant homes on her block of West Rockland Street that languished for nearly 20 years.

“It was really cool because it kind of showed that if you help and do your part as a citizen of the city and of the world, then the government can help you, too, in ways that you might not be able to handle on your own,” said Doley.

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