Germantown Avenue reopens - Philadelphia News

CHESTNUT HILL - December 5, 2008 Merchants celebrated the reopening of Germantown Avenue that connects Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill.

Local businesses suffered, while sections of the historically vibrant stretch of Germantown were closed over the last 18 months.

"We saw some of our customers temporarily leave us. We saw some of our employees move on to other jobs and the unemployment line." Ken Weinstein of the Trolley Car Diner said.

"We're all very much hurting because of the road closure, so we were thrilled to open several days before Thanksgiving," Amy Edelman, the Night Kitchen Bakery owner, said.

The timing is critical for businesses like O'Doodle's toy store which needs Christmas receipts to make up for the year's losses.

"We saw a lot of folks who were in Mt. Airy have a hard time to get up to Chestnut HIll and sometimes would pass us over and go out to the malls," Fran O'Donnell of O'Doodle's toy store.

Germantown Avenue at Creshiem Valley Road runs above a creek.

The road was deteriorating in spots and needed to be rebuilt. The old cobblestone and trolley tracks have been replaced. The avenue has new sidewalks and lighting.

"It's been unsafe for years. It's looked motley for years. It looks wonderful, the lighting, the tracks, the cobblestones. I couldn't be more thrilled," Bob Elfant of Wissahickon Realty.

Merchants want customers to know the new and improved germantown avenue is open.

"I think it's wonderful. We've got a business to run. It's taken hit from this, but the fact that this looks so nice and the fact we have customers that can get to us again is exciting," Adrian Hickman of TLA said.

Merchants hope the now fully open Germantown Avenue paves the way for improved finances, but given the times, many worry about whether prosperity will stretch beyond the holiday into the new year.

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