High Hopes for a Renovated Vernon Park in Philadelphia

A once-neglected park is at the center of efforts to breathe new life into Germantown's business district.
November 16, 2015, 9am PST | Emily Calhoun
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Philadelphia will renovate a neighborhood park in Germantown, the city’s second largest shopping district. The Friends of Vernon Park and Councilwoman Cindy Bass have been instrumental in securing a $1.2 million investment in the eight-acre former estate of a 19th century congressman.

"The renovation comes at a crucial time for Germantown, which has yet to see the burst of renovation and new housing that other Philadelphia neighborhoods have experienced, despite its grand houses and convenient transit to Center City," writes Inga Saffron, Inquirer architecture critic.

Despite being a transit hub, there is reportedly far too little safe and pleasant public space. Dollar stores and pawn shops outnumber cafes and restaurants, and the deli at the park’s corner sells beer by the bottle, making the park a popular spot for it’s more menacing clientele.

"It sounds inconceivable today, but for years cities virtually ignored these little nooks of outdoor space, allowing them to decline into seedy, dangerous, no-go places," writes Saffron.

Neighbors and friends of Vernon Park hope that the makeover will welcome a diversity of adults and children to enjoy the park without fear. The city hopes that this in turn will revitalize business.

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Published on Saturday, November 7, 2015 in philly.com
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