October is month to gather with neighbors, friends

Friday, October 1, 2004

A city committee wants Cape Girardeau residents to hold block parties or other get-togethers this month as part of a Neighborhood Nights Month program.

It's a new effort by the city's Vision 2020 Community Relations Council to strengthen community ties, said committee chairman Nancy Jernigan.

"Neighborhood Nights Month is a time for neighbors to foster caring and concern for each other and promote a stronger, more effective community," Jernigan said.

There are two benefits to the program, said Heather Brooks, assistant to the city manager.

"The first one is safety," she said. "If people know their neighbors, they can look out for each other."

Brooks said the other benefit is emotional happiness. "If people feel they are involved in their community, that makes them happier," she said.

"We are not expecting people to completely change their lives; it is a small step like knowing who you are waving at," Brooks said.

Brooks and Jernigan said the get-togethers can be anything from a simple party to a neighborhood project.

"This is a chance to rekindle friendships, welcome new neighbors and learn about each others' families, interests and needs," Jernigan said.

A neighborhood can be residents on a single residential street or block, just a few neighbors, or tenants in an apartment building.

Those who want to participate can pick up a starter packet in the city manager's office at city hall or contact Brooks at 334-1212. The packet includes ideas for holding get-togethers as well as party coupons for supplies and an RSVP form.

Participants are encouraged to list their events with the city. Police officers and firefighters will make an appearance at the celebrations on a first-come, first-serve basis. Schnucks has donated $25 gift certificates for the first 20 groups to register their block parties.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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