Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Block party season

Summer and fall are the peak times for block parties. If you've never organized a block party, here are some helpful hints to get started.

You'll need barricades to close the streets, but don't plan to rent out a "porta-potty". With all the neighbors participating, they have bathrooms in their homes.

The earlier you start planning, the better your block party will be. Allow at least 60 days.

Work with your alderman to secure a block party permit. The permits are applied for at the city Street Department off of Hampton Avenue on the north side of I-44. Invite your alderman to attend.

Form a committee to help with closing the street and cleanup. A good block party takes alot of work. The more people helping out, the lighter the workload. Plus, this years volunteers make for a better committee and block party next year.

Take advantage of the event to get to know your neighbors better (obviously), but go further and start a neighbor/block directory. Ideally, a block captain would be involved. If your block doesn’t have one, consider volunteering.

Organize the block directory so it’s voluntary, encouraging participation by providing everyone who participates with a copy. Sort it by name, address, email, and phone number. Then use the email addresses to update neighbors when things come up. Update the directory every year.

The fire department usually will send a crew and a truck for an hour or so. (Having food on hand keeps them around longer). The police canine unit is usually available as well. The dogs are beautiful and great with kids.

The best part of having a block party is closing the street to traffic and “owning” the block for kids to play, without fear of traffic, etc.

Send notices to neighbors at least 30 days in advance, listing activities, soliciting volunteers, etc, and asking them to park their cars off the street for the day. Remind them again a couple days before the actual date.

If you have questions or comments about organizing good block parties, post them in the comments section.

1 comment:

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