(The gospel according to Robyn :) Contact me if you want to work on any of the following! )
Kudos to GU for organizing a forum on gentrification. I've been harping on the need to have once since I moved here, but couldn't do so on my own. Now that there's been one, here are my remaining pet projects:
1) a centralized website where people can find the connections they need, whether to a contractor, a community garden or to their neighborhood asociation. LIG is pretty useful, but too difficult to search. We need something well organized. Interesting threads devlop, only to dissapear. I suspect many people who want to plug into projects don't know where to look. (This website was designed to be linked to such a website; I simply can't handle the technological complexity for something much bigger.)
2) an appealing center/common gathering place Chelten needs a bit of visual appeal and coherence.
*Planters, benches and trashcans.
*I also think haymarket style carts with colorful awnings would allow for the street venders and small start-up businesses without looking as junky as the overflowing piles of merchandise often do now.
*signage (for instance a sign pointing towads imperfect gallery on Chelten
3) a revolving loan fund for businesses that want to remove their grates
4) More sit-down eating places where people meet each other. At least we have a cafe again, but it remains to be seen whether they will have community events.
5) community bulletin boards (not everyone uses the net)
6) Better branding. Night market would be a good start.... A Germantown website would also help.
7) Easier access for outsiders/tourists to historic places. Might start with a regular van going on route between the historic houses on specific Saturdays. Might be a few bycycle/motorbike rickshaws that could be hired for groups of 4-5. (Then we'd have to organize tour leader training and hire local people to drive them.) Things won't really change until more money is coming into Gtown....
8) A strong civic association that has a transparent and inclusive leadership which can delegate and get things done. Very elusive goal at this point. Most groups here don't have many members who are actually working on projects together, as opposed to mainly going to meetings. One of the Gtown wide ones that still talks as if they represent the community had only 60 members after five years, though with the opposition to the Chelten Plaza we swelled that to 100. (I finally gave up on going.) But they can't even manage to send out regular e-mails.
9) Something like Equal Dollars, but hyper local (an alternative currency). 'Gtown dollars' could work well with creating a business directory. Kind of like one of those coupon books groups used to use for fundraisers, but on-line.