by Brendan Sample
In the wake of last week’s news that the popular Trolley Car Diner would be closing after nearly 20 years, the Mt. Airy business community is looking ahead to assess what sort of impact this will have on the area. While there are currently no specific plans for how the space will be utilized after Oct. 15, members of the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District are optimistic that any negative impacts the closure will have on the community will be minimal.
“While it is sad to see the Trolley Car Diner go away, I feel good about what we accomplished over the past 19 years since my partners, Nancy and Bob Elfant, and my wife, Judy, opened the diner to much fanfare,” said Ken Weinstein, Trolley Car owner and Mt. Airy BID chair. “Our commercial corridor is now almost blight-free and there are many more familyfriendly dining options. That will not change.”
When asked about what sort of development might take place on the property, Weinstein said he was focused on the present.
“We are keeping all of our options open at this time,” he said. “Right now, we are focused on helping our staff find their next jobs and winding down diner operations between now and Oct. 15.”
Regardless of what goes up on the property next, the BID is hoping to keep at least the ground floor of any structure on 7619 Germantown Ave. for commercial use. Given the impact that the diner has had on the area for nearly two decades, the group also wants to ensure that any new business provides a similar kind of positive impact.
“We will be advocating for a project that advances good development along the commercial corridor,” said BID executive director Janis Risch. “Before the diner opened in 2000, the former Roy Roger’s building sat vacant and deteriorated at the gateway to Mt. Airy for nine years, deterring people from Chestnut Hill and Eastern Montgomery [County] from visiting Mt. Airy’s wonderful shops and restaurants. All that has changed.”
For residents hoping to provide further input on the diner’s closing and get more information from the BID, there are two upcoming events to keep an eye on. On Thursday, Sept. 26, at 5:30 p.m., a dedication ceremony will be held at Trolley Car Park on the 6700 block of Germantown Avenue to celebrate the completion of five pocket parks in the area. On Thursday, Oct. 3, at 6:30 p.m., the BID will host its annual meeting at the New Covenant Campus, 7500 Germantown Ave., in Grannum Hall, Room A-1.
Visit MtAiryBID.com for more information. Brendan Sample can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-248-8819.