By my count, we had about 40-50 total people, including kids, attend the West Downtown Chaska National Night Out 2010 event this year. Pretty darn good for the first event in recent memory. I printed off 150 flyers and walked up and down every block handing them out. Then I ran out and printed 75 more! I still missed Spruce Street (ran out of time and broke my foot — long story), but almost every occupied house in the neighborhood got a flyer.
It was really fun to personally walk up to every house in my neighborhood to hand out the flyers, and I learned a lot on those walks. This neighborhood has terrific character, picturesque homes and gardens and very friendly people. The first night I was handing out flyers I took my four year-old with me door-to-door, and everyone talked to him and was super nice.
There is also a significant amount of architectural styles, historical preservation in progress and some fascinating yard art.
Lastly, there are a lot more empty homes than I thought. Although only two homes in the area have foreclosure papers on the front door, I was surprised how many vacant homes there were. (FOR THE RECORD: unlike Sarpinos, SW Metro Transit, Chaska Fire Department and Qwest Dex, I did not leave these flyers as litter on empty homes). Some of the houses are move-in ready, while others will need some TLC. I hope our civic leaders and communities are thinking about how to get families into these homes ASAP.
The event itself was just great. I was a little nervous nobody would show up — either because they didn’t know, didn’t care or wouldn’t go to an outdoor event at 89 degrees on a Tuesday evening. Since I only had a week to put this together and didn’t have a budget or any help, I wasn’t able to pull together a big barbecue or anything.
I bought 100 popsicles, and my mom bought a bunch of bottled water and bubbles (BUBBLES!). We went out 30 minutes early, moved the picnic table in Hickory Park into the shade, set out chairs and did the Field of Dreams prayer.
AND THEN….people showed up! Lots of people. The kids instantly hit it off, and my son didn’t stop running and playing for almost two hours straight.
The Chaska Police Department came with McGruff (and we talked him onto the seesaw).
Then the Chaska Police Department came with folks from Target in tow to distribute sidewalk chalk and market to us.
Then the Chaska Fire Department came and let our kids climb all over their truck.
Mollee at the Chaska Herald came out and took some photos. She wrote a quick recap and put together a slideshow featuring shots from many NNO neighborhood events, including ours.
Residents across the city gathered at more than 35 parties Tuesday to celebrate National Night Out. The event is designed to increase awareness for crime prevention in community neighborhoods.
Greg Swan organized his first National Night Out party at Hickory Park for residents in downtown Chaska. He was pleased with the turnout.
“It’s been great,” said Swan.
Kids created sidewalk chalk art and played on the playground equipment while the adults chatted nearby. The group even convinced McGruff the Crime Dog to take a turn on the see-saw during his visit.
It’s been great? Nice one, Greg. Now that’s a quote to remember. :)
Overally, I’m extremely pleased with the event. The fact we know a good chunk of our neighbors now is even more exciting. Plus we have a Neighborhood Contact List started now. Just rockin’ awesome.
More photos here.