Philadelphia Magazine & Chestnut Hill Local Talk Germantown’s YWCA

This week, both Philadelphia Magazine and the Chestnut Hill Local published stories about Germantown’s YWCA. Read on and share this news far and wide.

Neighbors Unite to Save Historic Germantown YWCA Building
The Friends to Save the Germantown YWCA group petitions Mayor Nutter to step in and save the Y.
Philadelphia Magazine

By James Jennings
Februray 27, 2015

While Councilwoman Cindy Bass remains locked in a battle with the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and developer Ken Weinstein about the future of the Germantown YWCA, concerned neighbors have joined forces to help secure what happens to it now. The building has sat vacant for some time and its condition, rundown at best, is rapidly deteriorating due to neglect. Neighbors fear that it will be lost should it sit much longer.

The newly-formed Friends to Save the Germantown YWCA have a Change.org petition circulating the internet this week that calls for the City of Philadelphia to take charge and fund the necessary improvements needed to “stabilize” and  save the landmark building adjacent to Vernon Park.

“The petition is focused solely on preventing demolition, and stabilizing and securing the building for a future use. That is the common ground that co-signers share,” said Emaleigh Doley, a resident of Germantown and member of the Friends group, in an email. “Many of us have different opinions as to what should happen next but we know this building won’t exist as part of Germantown’s future if something is not done to protect it now.”

As of today, the petition has 400 e-signatures… Read the full story on PhillyMag.com.

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Historic YWCA’s fate still in limbo
Chestnut Hill Local

By Sue Ann Rybak
March 2, 2015

The Germantown YWCA, at 5820 Germantown Ave., is only a shell of its former self. The once majestic Georgian Revival style red-brick building, designed by Louis H. Rush in 1914 as a haven for women, sits vacant and cluttered with debris.

It’s hard to imagine how a building with such a distinguished history could become such an eyesore.

According to an article in the Local of Sept. 30, 2004, the Germantown’s Women’s Y is reported to be the third oldest YWCA in the world.

The building currently is owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.

While many residents would like to see it demolished, Yvonne Haskins, a community activist and lawyer, said that for many Germantown residents the YWCA represents the meaning of community.

“When you consider that a thousand white women built the Y and then in the 1940s decided to invite black women who were living in the old Germantown Settlement Music building to come swimming, It speaks to me of the inclusive nature of the community. It says we are a community that wants to help each other and socialize together and that’s what community is.”

She added that icons such as the YWCA “represent our history and our values” and should be “preserved and celebrated…” Read the full story in the Chestnut Hill Local.

 

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