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Old 08-21-2019, 06:58 PM
 
590 posts, read 435,121 times
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Originally Posted by Muinteoir View Post
On another note about the area, I wonder why the Northwest is dominated by Acmes and Save A Lots. They are both inferior to their competition equivalents: Whole Foods > Acme; Aldi > Save A Lot. Residents would surely benefit from some better grocery options, imo.
Regarding Whole Foods, they historically have required a minimum of 200k residents with a college degree within a store’s trade area. That plus the cost of assembling the space to open a store is why they are in Plymouth Meeting and Wynnewood not in the Northwest. Not sure what the story is with Aldi.
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Old 08-21-2019, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
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Originally Posted by kyb01 View Post
I do wonder at some point if the school taxes will continue to increase in the 'burbs so much that those taxes will almost match tuition at private schools.
Not for a household with multiple children.
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Old 08-22-2019, 04:44 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
5,551 posts, read 2,711,899 times
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Originally Posted by BR Valentine View Post
The average cost of tuition and taxes are not remotely close in the vast majority of suburbs. Also you are hugely underestimating how important it is for white parents to send their children to schools where their children aren’t a minority and how much they are willing to pay for that privilege.
Shame on them.*

I do know that Mt. Airy USA (now the Mt. Airy CDC) has spent a good deal of time and effort showing real estate agents around the neighborhood's three public grade schools in an effort to counter this, but I don't know how successful this has been, if at all.

I also note that Wissahickon Charter School opened a new-from-the-ground-up second campus last year across Washington Lane and the R7 Chestnut Hill East tracks from the Awbury Arboretum, just inside East Mt. Airy. Wissahickon Charter has a curriculum that appeals to many affluent, liberal white families, so that development may alter this dynamic somewhat.

*One of the entries in my mental file folder labeled "The Philadelphia public schools aren't as bad as everyone says they are" comes from the two white women who double-teamed me during social hour after services one Sunday at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown several months ago. Both of them had their children (two each) enrolled in Anna Lingelbach, which I believe is the newest of the three grade schools serving Mt. Airy (built in 1957); it sits on the Germantown side of the Germantown/Mt. Airy border on Wayne Avenue. The women told me their kids were doing very well there; they said the school had a great teaching staff and principal.

Some time later, I found a parent comment about Lingelbach to similar effect on GreatSchools.org. That parent said that she "had wasted $7000 in private school tuition" for three years before enrolling her child in Lingelbach and that the child absolutely thrived at the school, whose principal, she wrote, was taking it "in the right direction." She did, however, conclude by saying she was pulling her child out of the school at the end of the school year because a small number of students there were disruptive and made it hard for everyone else to learn.

For many, if not most, African-American families, integrated schools remain the preferred academic environment for their kids, period. For many, if not most, white families, it's okay until the ratio of black to white students reaches somewhere around 30 percent, then they flee. That means that in many cases, integration has to be a conscious choice on the white family's part. There's an organization out there called Integrated Schools whose mission is to encourage more white (and/or) affluent families to make that conscious choice.

I will, however, close with a coda: I related the tales of the Lingelbach parents to a youngish African-American woman who also lives in East Mt. Airy and used to work in the school safety office of the School District of Philadelphia a few weeks ago. When I got to the one about the parent who was very happy with the school but was still pulling her kid out, she gave a knowing chuckle and said something to the effect that she understood exactly why that parent behaved as she did.
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Old 08-22-2019, 05:16 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
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Originally Posted by KansastoSouthphilly View Post
Well I guess there is a tale of two Germantowns. West Germantown has seen an increasing amount of redevelopment. Especially near Mt. Airy off of Germantown Ave (Johnson through Washington Lane) and the areas near Tulpehocken and Chelten stations. The housing prices reflect this. There have also been several proposed apartment complexes proposed near the 6300 block of Germantown near the Mt. Airy border. I agree that East Germantown is still relatively undeveloped. I don't know if Germantowns population loss will reverse as many of the families moving in will likely be smaller households than what they are replacing. I do think Germantown will see a significant reduction in vacant and blighted properties.


I don't see any sign that EMA will cease to be a majority black neighborhood anytime soon. I don't think that is a goal. A decrease in the poverty rate will be good. I think you are underestimating that rate of change in EMA. I think the main factor slowing change is a lack of inventory. The lack of support for public is real though. My street is full of kids but most of them go to OMC. Some go to Holy Cross. Did have one family recently move to Lafayette Hill for that purpose though unfortunately.


I don't expect a boom but I expect to see relatively steady growth. Especially in EMA and West Germantown.
What's OMC?

One of the things I point out about Germantown is that its overall stats mask a higher level of both racial and socioeconomic diversity than one finds in most low-income, overwhelmingly black Philly neighborhoods, and this exists in part because in the era of white flight, not all the whites fled - and some of those who did were replaced by others attracted by the countercultural vibe one finds in parts of Germantown.

One of those families lives in southwest Germantown and is headed by a child of the Sixties who did move to Germantown for this reason. Her two daughters are both active in community betterment groups; the older one is [IIRC] the commercial corridor manager for the Germantown United CDC, which has made shoring up and improving the Central Germantown business district, once the second-busiest in the city after Center City itself, its main priority. I quoted both this woman and her mother in this Next City feature I wrote about revitalization in Germantown last July.

I live around the corner and two cross streets up from the block pictured at the top of the article; I took that photo, and I had interviewed the (interracial) duo who had bought and rehabbed 10 nearly-collapsed houses on it for the PhillyMag section I edit a couple of years earlier.

But even though there's a noteworthy pocket of black affluence in the middle of the Census tract I live in - I've featured three houses in it that have gone on the market over the past few months, and WHYY's series "Gentrified" shone a spotlight on it a few months before my own story ran (among its residents: noted African-American intellectual and Uncle Bobbie's founder/owner Marc Lamont Hill; Yes, We're Acquainted) - East Germantown remains largely poor and overwhelmingly African-American, and I don't see that changing much anytime soon. The civic involvement infrastructure is nearly nonexistent on my side of the neighborhood. Most of its white residents, and nearly all of its affluent ones, live in Germantown's northwest quadrant (Germantown to Wissahickon avenues, Chelten Avenue to Johnson Street). It's the people who live in this quadrant who probably do more than any other group of Germantowners to promote that "Williamsburg 2.0" vibe mentioned upthread, and not all of the people spinning this narrative are white.

There's another African-American family I know who lives in Germantown's southwest quadrant, which once had a serious reputation for violent crime that has largely disappeared now. That quadrant (Germantown to Wissahickon avenues, Chelten to Roberts avenues/SEPTA Regional Rail tracks) is more middle-class than the east side, also has some pockets of affluence (particularly the Penn-Knox neighborhood) and a smattering of white residents. This family lives on West Maplewood Avenue, and I met them when they lived in Spruce Hill and I was working in Penn's communications office. The male half of the couple headed the Spruce Hill Community Association when I was at Penn; he now is involved in neighborhood-improvement activism here in Germantown. Both of us are connected with an effort to revive community journalism in Germantown, in cahoots with the couple who produce The Local in East Falls.

I guess the point of this ramble is to say that, while maybe the "Williamsburg 2.0" talk is a little premature, I do see lots of forward momentum in Germantown, just not of the Next Hot Neighborhood type. And I hope that never happens, for from where I sit, we have an opportunity here to get "gentrification" right - doing it organically, slowly, and even inclusively.
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Old 08-22-2019, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
525 posts, read 206,992 times
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Originally Posted by BR Valentine View Post
Regarding Whole Foods, they historically have required a minimum of 200k residents with a college degree within a store’s trade area. That plus the cost of assembling the space to open a store is why they are in Plymouth Meeting and Wynnewood not in the Northwest. Not sure what the story is with Aldi.
Interesting. I didn’t know that, but I can’t say that I’m surprised. I’m not actually a big Whole Foods fan, but I truly dislike Acme. What I’d really love is a Wegmans, my childhood grocery store in Upstate NY. I know that’s dreaming, but...
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
525 posts, read 206,992 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
What's OMC?

One of the things I point out about Germantown is that its overall stats mask a higher level of both racial and socioeconomic diversity than one finds in most low-income, overwhelmingly black Philly neighborhoods, and this exists in part because in the era of white flight, not all the whites fled - and some of those who did were replaced by others attracted by the countercultural vibe one finds in parts of Germantown.

One of those families lives in southwest Germantown and is headed by a child of the Sixties who did move to Germantown for this reason. Her two daughters are both active in community betterment groups; the older one is [IIRC] the commercial corridor manager for the Germantown United CDC, which has made shoring up and improving the Central Germantown business district, once the second-busiest in the city after Center City itself, its main priority. I quoted both this woman and her mother in this Next City feature I wrote about revitalization in Germantown last July.

I live around the corner and two cross streets up from the block pictured at the top of the article; I took that photo, and I had interviewed the (interracial) duo who had bought and rehabbed 10 nearly-collapsed houses on it for the PhillyMag section I edit a couple of years earlier.

But even though there's a noteworthy pocket of black affluence in the middle of the Census tract I live in - I've featured three houses in it that have gone on the market over the past few months, and WHYY's series "Gentrified" shone a spotlight on it a few months before my own story ran (among its residents: noted African-American intellectual and Uncle Bobbie's founder/owner Marc Lamont Hill; Yes, We're Acquainted) - East Germantown remains largely poor and overwhelmingly African-American, and I don't see that changing much anytime soon. The civic involvement infrastructure is nearly nonexistent on my side of the neighborhood. Most of its white residents, and nearly all of its affluent ones, live in Germantown's northwest quadrant (Germantown to Wissahickon avenues, Chelten Avenue to Johnson Street). It's the people who live in this quadrant who probably do more than any other group of Germantowners to promote that "Williamsburg 2.0" vibe mentioned upthread, and not all of the people spinning this narrative are white.

There's another African-American family I know who lives in Germantown's southwest quadrant, which once had a serious reputation for violent crime that has largely disappeared now. That quadrant (Germantown to Wissahickon avenues, Chelten to Roberts avenues/SEPTA Regional Rail tracks) is more middle-class than the east side, also has some pockets of affluence (particularly the Penn-Knox neighborhood) and a smattering of white residents. This family lives on West Maplewood Avenue, and I met them when they lived in Spruce Hill and I was working in Penn's communications office. The male half of the couple headed the Spruce Hill Community Association when I was at Penn; he now is involved in neighborhood-improvement activism here in Germantown. Both of us are connected with an effort to revive community journalism in Germantown, in cahoots with the couple who produce The Local in East Falls.

I guess the point of this ramble is to say that, while maybe the "Williamsburg 2.0" talk is a little premature, I do see lots of forward momentum in Germantown, just not of the Next Hot Neighborhood type. And I hope that never happens, for from where I sit, we have an opportunity here to get "gentrification" right - doing it organically, slowly, and even inclusively.
I agree that revitalization in Germantown appears to be done well. It definitely isn’t a well known hot spot for many. Now is time to reveal I recently moved to the neighborhood. Some of my friends said that I’m “moving to the suburbs.” It goes to show how little some people who live closer to Philly’s core understand about the neighborhood.
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:02 AM
 
590 posts, read 435,121 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
Shame on them.*

I do know that Mt. Airy USA (now the Mt. Airy CDC) has spent a good deal of time and effort showing real estate agents around the neighborhood's three public grade schools in an effort to counter this, but I don't know how successful this has been, if at all.

I also note that Wissahickon Charter School opened a new-from-the-ground-up second campus last year across Washington Lane and the R7 Chestnut Hill East tracks from the Awbury Arboretum, just inside East Mt. Airy. Wissahickon Charter has a curriculum that appeals to many affluent, liberal white families, so that development may alter this dynamic somewhat.

*One of the entries in my mental file folder labeled "The Philadelphia public schools aren't as bad as everyone says they are" comes from the two white women who double-teamed me during social hour after services one Sunday at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown several months ago. Both of them had their children (two each) enrolled in Anna Lingelbach, which I believe is the newest of the three grade schools serving Mt. Airy (built in 1957); it sits on the Germantown side of the Germantown/Mt. Airy border on Wayne Avenue. The women told me their kids were doing very well there; they said the school had a great teaching staff and principal.

Some time later, I found a parent comment about Lingelbach to similar effect on GreatSchools.org. That parent said that she "had wasted $7000 in private school tuition" for three years before enrolling her child in Lingelbach and that the child absolutely thrived at the school, whose principal, she wrote, was taking it "in the right direction." She did, however, conclude by saying she was pulling her child out of the school at the end of the school year because a small number of students there were disruptive and made it hard for everyone else to learn.

For many, if not most, African-American families, integrated schools remain the preferred academic environment for their kids, period. For many, if not most, white families, it's okay until the ratio of black to white students reaches somewhere around 30 percent, then they flee. That means that in many cases, integration has to be a conscious choice on the white family's part. There's an organization out there called Integrated Schools whose mission is to encourage more white (and/or) affluent families to make that conscious choice.

I will, however, close with a coda: I related the tales of the Lingelbach parents to a youngish African-American woman who also lives in East Mt. Airy and used to work in the school safety office of the School District of Philadelphia a few weeks ago. When I got to the one about the parent who was very happy with the school but was still pulling her kid out, she gave a knowing chuckle and said something to the effect that she understood exactly why that parent behaved as she did.
Eighty-nine percent of Wisssahickon Charter’s students are black and eighty-three percent are economically disadvantaged. Green Woods charter which has a similar theme and which was started by a group of white parents from Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill is sixty-nine percent white and twelve percent economically disadvantaged. Green woods is the only majority white charter or public school in Northwest Philly and it has proportionately fewer economically disadvantaged students (just 12% are ED) than neighboring Springfield Township. Functionally it’s a taxpayer funded private school. There are a couple of plurality white K - 8 schools in Roxborough and otherwise finding white kids not enrolled in private schools is like playing Where’s Waldo.

White liberals talk a big game about diversity but when it comes time to enroll their children in school they nearly always choose schools where white children are the largest racial group. The fact is that they walked away a long time ago from the area’s public schools and they aren’t coming back. There have always been a few lonely souls bucking the trend but it’s never been remotely close enough to make a lasting difference.

You’re correct that plenty of middle-class black families opt out of the public school system as well, but even if they didn’t their presence would do nothing to end racial segregation. Henry is the poster child for that. It’s not a majority economically disadvantaged school yet decade after decade white families have avoided the school with the exception of a small number who enroll their kids in the lower elementary grades.

Also OMC = Our Mother of Consolation located in Chestnut Hill.

Last edited by BR Valentine; 08-22-2019 at 08:11 AM..
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BR Valentine View Post
I generally agree which is why I mentioned that I think the status quo trends will continue. I suppose my underlying point is that the rate of change has been and is likely to remain slow. EMA started to experience demographic change roughly fifteen years ago. The rate of change seems to have picked up a bit in the past five years or so but it’s still a fairly slow process in my opinion. Having said that, I’ve been tracking real estate prices in the area for a long time because I own several rental properties just on the other side of Stenton. Real estate prices in Dogtown have started to increase at pretty rapid rate which is a significant change.


The barrier is not inventory. It’s schools. It’s always been schools. Most white parents don’t want to deal with out-of-catchment and charter applications and they sure as hell aren’t interested in being school integration pioneers. There are plenty of middle-class black parents who want nothing to do with the neighborhood schools either. Your neighbors whose kids attend OMC are an example of just how much of a challenge schools can be. About a year ago I heard from a friend who is a parishioner at OMC that they have more applicants than building capacity and consequently they will no longer enroll new students who aren’t members of the parish. Assuming that information is accurate that’s one less affordable private school option for some parents. Colonial and Springfield are experiencing enrollment growth that neither district anticipated because of the number of parents who would prefer living in the city but aren’t willing to deal with the schools so they opt to live in an inner-ring burb.

It’s the same in West Germantown. The areas experiencing demographic change are the same places, or are immediately adjacent to, where white people were congregated forty years ago. The reason the area between Johnson and Washington Lane has changed is the fact that it was much more affluent than most of Germantown and it retained some white residents post-white flight. Those are always the first and easiest places to change in predominantly black neighborhoods. I hope you’re correct that Germantown is going to experience a significant reduction in vacant properties and vacant land.

I certainly agree the schools are a barrier. Wow thanks for the info about OMC. That is very interesting news. I had no idea. I will look into it. I have also heard schools like Jenks, Henry and Houston will be unable to accept new students from out of the catchment?


I wonder what, if any, the impact the changes at OMC will have on Holy Cross? Sadly holy cross seems to be another example of what you are talking about regarding white parents not wanting their kids to be in the minority as it has a ~100% black enrollment despite being in a very diverse area. I'm not sure how the academics are regarded at Holy Cross.
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:27 AM
 
501 posts, read 437,391 times
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Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
What's OMC?

...

I guess the point of this ramble is to say that, while maybe the "Williamsburg 2.0" talk is a little premature, I do see lots of forward momentum in Germantown, just not of the Next Hot Neighborhood type. And I hope that never happens, for from where I sit, we have an opportunity here to get "gentrification" right - doing it organically, slowly, and even inclusively.


OMC is Our Mother of Consolation. A catholic school in chestnut hill. Many families in my part of east Mt. Airy send their children because it has an excellent reputation but the tuition is significantly lower than the other nearby private school options. As a mentioned in my last comment many of these families (both black and white...but mostly white) choose to send their kids hear even though they are right around the corner from Holy Cross.


I certainly agree that there is forward momentum in Germantown. I also think there is a significant need for investment. Most of the "gentrification" I've seen in Germantown has been positive in the form of rehabbing of blighted or vacant property. I think this is positive but many in the neighborhood are already reacting hysterically to the modest investment and the modest influx of wealthy residents.


As an aside I will add that I am very curious to see how the saga with the Germantown High property plays out. I think the neighbors were great in demanding a seat at the table. I think if done right this project could go a long way towards an inclusive redevelopment in Germantown. Same with the Maplewood mall redevelopment.
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:23 AM
 
590 posts, read 435,121 times
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Originally Posted by KansastoSouthphilly View Post
I certainly agree the schools are a barrier. Wow thanks for the info about OMC. That is very interesting news. I had no idea. I will look into it. I have also heard schools like Jenks, Henry and Houston will be unable to accept new students from out of the catchment?


I wonder what, if any, the impact the changes at OMC will have on Holy Cross? Sadly holy cross seems to be another example of what you are talking about regarding white parents not wanting their kids to be in the minority as it has a ~100% black enrollment despite being in a very diverse area. I'm not sure how the academics are regarded at Holy Cross.
I find it hard to believe that Jenks is no longer accepting out of catchment students. Its student demographics are nearly perfectly the opposite of its catchment demographics. It’s a similar situation with Houston which has a catchment that consists of the most affluent and whitest parts of East and West Mount Airy (that’s not a coincidence BTW. It’s a legacy of the district redrawing the catchment in the late 1960s in a failed attempt to stop white flight from the school). Houston is 71% economically disadvantaged and 3% white. It’s at least plausible for Henry though I’m skeptical.

I’m not sure if Holy Cross has the capacity to expand enrollment and as you point out its demographics are not what white parents want. My guess it’s that Holy Cross won’t be materially affected assuming that OMC is actually no longer enrolling new students from outside the parish.
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