Germantown Town Hall
In the summer of 2013 the long neglected Germantown Town Hall received a temporary breath of life from Hidden City. For at least one month the building would be opened to the public. The people have returned! For many years the general public had been banned from entry. Now they have returned to relive memories and satisfy their curiosity. The most overarching question was WHY such a great building had been left neglected for years by developers and the city of Philadelphia. One might think that part of the issue is the location in what many consider a low income area. If that is the case then the developers and city are clueless.
Town Hall, by virtue of its location, could be a community and economic center for Germantown. It is easy to reach by mass transit in a walkable community. The building design lends itself well to be a business incubator, or a place for co-op workspaces, and community gatherings. Any investment in this building would pay for itself. Sadly we live in a time when it is difficult for developers and our government to see the big picture on a long-term basis.
On June 30th, 2013 the building was locked and later resealed by the city and placed in the hands of the Fairmount Parks agency. Even with the closing, many in the Germantown community have taken the task of creating and maintaining a garden on the south side of the building. A new community-based group, Germantown Town Hall Collaborative, has been formed to explore ways to develop the building. Hopefully, with the renewed interest by the community, Germantown Town Hall will once again return to life.