Residents of Germantown will have an opportunity to voice their opinions, concerns and hopes for the future of Germantown and its vacant properties, through an experiment, Gray Area.
Gray Area’s experiment aims to serve as “a public dialogue to encourage new ways of thinking about older buildings in Philadelphia and beyond.” The experiment is made up of two free events in each of the subject areas. The first meeting in Germantown was held on Nov. 7, in which around 15 community members attended.
“The attendees at the first community meeting ventured out on a very nasty night,” said Gray Area Project Director Elise Vider. “They were very engaged and even passionate on the subject of the Max Levy building, their neighborhood and preservation in general.”
During the first meeting, attendees heard a presentation of the building’s history and brainstormed a wide range of reuse ideas. Ideas ranged from a farmers market, to a proud gateway to Germantown, to a center for progressive education.
Germantown houses Gray Area’s first facility — the Max Levy Autograph Building located on the border between Nicetown and Germantown — to gather ideas about preservation. The building is also a part of the Wayne Junction National Register Historic District.
The second event will take place last night. at the Germantown Theater Center.
“[During] our concluding community meeting in Germantown,” Vider said, “the Gray Area team will present a first look at a toolkit it is developing to engage community members in thinking about historic buildings in what we think is a meaningful way that impacts both the buildings and its surroundings.”
The team of designers, historians and preservationists will also be presenting ideas specific to the Max Levy Building and its Wayne Junction neighborhood.
“The most important thing we hope to get out of this concluding community meeting in Germantown is feedback and ideas about how to maintain interest and engagement in this building, and what it represents,” Vider said.