The Difference a Day Can Make

April 18, 2018

As we experienced the extreme contrast in temperatures in a 24-hour period this past weekend, it brought to mind how much difference a day can make.  Here in Lansdowne, we are living that on a daily basis.

In 2017, the LEDC began a plan to act on the research and survey results from the previous year. We had always heard that there was a sizeable artistic and musical community in and around Lansdowne and the research confirmed it. Fast forward to 2018: Utility Works, our co-working space for creative professionals, is about to open next week. Each day we are seeing changes to the building in preparation for the Grand Opening on April 27 at 6pm. Utility Works was developed to fill the needs of the creative community for affordable studio space and to spur even more economic development in Lansdowne. To kick it up another notch, we’re also adding a Juice Bar/Vegetarian Café and a retail space for our building members to sell their goods. Over the past four months, we have seen day-to-day changes and an empty building slowly breathes as it is coming back to life.  

Each year, as if by magic, you may have noticed the dinginess of winter evident one day and gone the next. It is true, but it isn’t magic. It is the dedicated volunteers who come out for the annual borough cleanup. Spearheaded by the Comcast Cares Day campaign, volunteers from the community come out to take on the litter, debris, and dirt. Last year’s day brought us the start of the Lansdowne Landing which has grown to be a flourishing community asset in the downtown. This Saturday is this year’s cleanup day and it’s not too late to be a part of it. Volunteers should meet at 8am at the Highland Avenue parking lot (behind Dunkin Donuts) and will be working until 2pm throughout the borough. Bring your work gloves. Register to help here.

“Back in the day” as they say, Lansdowne was a booming little borough where families made roots.  So many residents speak nostalgically about the past of Lansdowne with fondness. Which leads us to a discussion about Lansdowne’s future. The LEDC envisions Lansdowne as an arts and cultural community where future families come to start roots and make their own family memories. They come for the culture and stay for the community they find here. The many artistic and cultural assets that we have here surpass any other similar-sized suburb in the Philly inner ring. This is why we asked Professor Jeffrey Doshna of Temple University and his students from the Graduate City and Regional Planning Studio to help us determine better ways to use arts and culture to foster and create economic development. Phase One findings were announced last year at the LEDC Annual Meeting. The current students are about to announce their ideas. This is not yet a plan that has been adopted by anyone. It is more a vision of what the students see as possibilities and what they have found to be successful in other similar communities across the country.  Dr. Doshna and his students invite the entire community to come listen to their findings and ideas on Monday, May 7, at 7pm. The meeting will be held at the Twentieth Century Club. This process of working with the grad students has been immensely satisfying and eye opening. It has been a great opportunity for the students to have a real community experience and a great opportunity for the LEDC to take advantage of free resources to support our vision.

A new day is a privilege to start afresh, so take advantage of it.  One day can make all the difference in the world to yourself and the community.

Turning the Corner Blog by Jeanne Ketcham

Jeanne is a resident of Lansdowne and the Program Coordinator for the Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation.

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