By Chelsea Bunker
Summer is arguably the best season in Wheat Ridge. The warm weather always brings fun community events and social gatherings. Summer is a time of connecting with friends, family and neighbors at barbecues and block parties. In fact, a neighborhood block party can be much more than just a great summer social event. Neighborhood block parties can help build the foundation of a strong, healthy and safe community.
Interested in organizing a block party on your street, but not sure where to start? First, decide when and where the party will take place. If it makes the most sense to have the party right on the street, you can apply to close the street to traffic for the duration of the party. Reach out to the City of Wheat Ridge Public Works Department for this application. Invite your neighbors and enlist their help with the event. A pot luck-style event seems to be a popular format for block parties. Another option would be to ask neighbors to bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert to share while you supply the main dish. Encourage attendees to BYOC – bring your own chair. Often times, a neighbor or two will offer to bring supplies or even some yard games. A simple summer barbecue can quickly turn into a great community building event when everyone pitches in.
Once the details are all set, consider including other community organizations. The Wheat Ridge Police Department, West Metro Fire Rescue, Localworks, or even clubs like Rotary, Optimist and Kiwanis can help enrich the event and provide a fun informative experience. The Wheat Ridge Police Department can talk about general safety or even help set up a neighborhood watch program. Localworks can talk about volunteer opportunities and community resources available to you and your neighbors. Perhaps the fire department will even bring a fire truck for the kids to check out!
Localworks wants to help you with your neighborhood block party this summer. Through the TLC Wheat Ridge Block Party Grant program, your street could be eligible for $150 towards the cost of food and supplies. Whether your street has never had an organized block party or you have one each year, Localworks wants to assist you in creating a stronger neighborhood.
Block parties are an easy and fun way to help develop the sense of community and pride right on your street. In the end, you’ll meet new friends and connect with old ones, which is exactly what summertime is all about.
To apply for a TLC Wheat Ridge Block Party Grant or to learn more about Localworks, visit www.WeAreLocalworks.org or call 720-259-1030.
Chelsea Bunker is the Community Engagement Coordinator for Localworks.