About the district

The GSSD covers the Central Germantown Business District, which is centered at the intersection of Germantown and Chelten Avenues, the heart of the historic Germantown neighborhood.

The district includes one of the most historic miles of continuous street in the US known as ‘the Great Road’ (another name for Germantown Ave), that houses numerous historic sites that tell the story of the neighborhood and the U.S.

Within the district boundaries are prestigious private schools, many of which were founded by Quakers who settled the Germantown area in the late 1600s, an eclectic community of artists and small galleries, professional businesses and an array of mom and pop owned small businesses, anchored by some well-known businesses and institutions.

Not to be outdone, the district is home to the ‘Emerald Gem’ better known as Vernon Park and many other parks, green spaces and community gardens and is quickly accessible to renowned outdoor spaces including Awbury Arboretum, Wissachickon Park, Valley Green and miles and miles of gorgeous running trails.


Quick Peek at Services

  • Public Space Maintenance
  • Beautification
  • Marketing and Promotions
  • Sidewalk litter removal
  • Graffiti removal
  • Business attraction
  • Small business assistance
  • Street trees
  • Planters & greening
  • Directional signs

The district is supported by a vibrant and diverse community of residents, who are also some of the small business owners and are passionate about the health, and positive growth of the community and the business district.

A Few Places of Interest

  • Pre-Revolutionary War/Colonial America Historical Sites
  • Revolutionary War Sites
  • Anti-Slavery Historical Sites
  • Civil War Sites
  • Civil Rights and Women's Rights Historical Sites
  • Museums
  • Art Galleries
  • Mural Arts

Stay up-to-date on community happenings in and around the district on our Calendar or our Events page. Follow along with media coverage and other stories about out district and community at our blog, One Germantown.  



GSSD - The Organization

Organization History

The Germantown District (GSSD) is one of 13+ Special Service Districts in the City of Philadelphia. The GSSD was originally created in 1995 and provided services to the Germantown and Chelten commercial area until ceasing operations in 2011. The GSSD is authorized as a Municipal Authority by City Council through 2025.

On October 10, 2013, City Council led by the efforts and recommendation of Councilwoman, Cindy Bass (8th district, including Germantown) voted to re-authorize the GSSD with final signature from then Mayor Nutter.

Organization Governance

The GSSD was incorporated under and is governed by the PA Municipal Authorities Act 1945 P.L. 382. The board is governed by by-laws and articles of incorporation.

The GSSD is overseen by a 15 member board of directors, consisting of Germantown residents, community stakeholders and business and property owners from the district. The daily responsibilities are managed by an Executive Director. Learn more About the Board, and Staff

Organization Operations

Every five years that GSSD submits a plan and budget to cover a 5-year period of time. The plan lays out in a broad overview how the GSSD will spend assessment, grant and other funds.

Both the plan and budget must be approved by the City Council of Philadelphia in order for the organization to operate. Our current 5-year plan was approved in October 2013 and is good until our fiscal year ends in September 2018.  Learn more about our current Budget and Plan.

Germantown in View


"Germantown offers something for everyone. One can find art, history and amazing green spaces. It's a vibrant and complex community and a special place to live and work. As an artist and Germantown resident, I find inspiration in this community's people, past and present."  
- Trapeta B. Mayson