If you’re in favour of having fun delivered to your doorstep, then the city’s Block Party is for you.
Selkirk launched its Block Party initiative last summer and is continuing this year by offering a $250 gift voucher to the first five people that book a Block Party. The very first to book will receive a bonus promotional package from the City of Selkirk.
“One of the priorities in our Strategic Plan is to provide a vibrant, safe and healthy community and the city’s Block Party checks that box off nicely,” said Shelly Leonard, Program Coordinator, Culture, Recreation and Green Transportation.
“The city’s Block Party trailer shows up to your street free of charge, puts up barricades to close off your block to vehicle traffic, and drops off games and activities for kids and adults to enjoy. It’s a perfect opportunity for people to get to know their neighbours, connect with ones you haven’t seen in a while and build that bond of a safe and supportive community.”
Chief Administrative Officer Duane Nicol said while the obvious goal of any party is to bring people together for a good time, the city’s aim is to have the positive energy and good will from the party spill over into day to day life and create safer and more vibrant communities.
“The real goal is to build community at the neighbourhood level, neighbourhood by neighbourhood,” Nicol said.
When neighbours know each other, neighbourhoods tend to be safer because you have a vested interest and you want to look after the people living in your community, he said.
“If you meet Bob from down the street at the block party, you talk about your family and your jobs and it turns out Bob works the day shift at the business on the other side of town,” Nicol said.
“A few weeks later there’s a van pulled up in front of Bob’s driveway in the middle of the day and you know that’s not Bob’s vehicle and he should be at work right now. You decide you’re either gonna check on the van or call the RCMP and have them check. If you hadn’t met Bob at the party, you’re probably not doing this.”
Linda Rosser hosted Selkirk’s first Block Party last summer after winning a draw at the Waterfront Canada Day celebrations. She said the party, held on a beautiful day in August, definitely brought the community together.
“No exaggeration, it was the best,” Rosser said.
About 100 Dorchester Avenue residents got together for the afternoon event and Rosser said it created a tremendous amount of good will. Young and old came out, families and seniors, relatives and total strangers, she said.
“The best part of all is there was people who have lived here for 50 years and a lot of people who were new comers to Selkirk,” Rosser said.
“When it was over, people didn’t want to go home. And we definitely want to do it again this year.”
The city’s step-by-step Block Party guide is available to download HERE or can be picked up at city offices – and guides you through what’s allowed and what’s not, gives you helpful tips on how to make your party a success and provides the application and other forms needed to complete your request.
Leonard said if you want to have a Block Party you have to fill out an application and have signatures of support from at least 75 per cent of your neighbours on your block.
The city has a list of activities that you can choose from for your Block Party – including volleyball, street chalk, hoola hoops, oversized soccer balls, safe lawn darts, horseshoes and other games – that will compliment other activities you and your neighbours already have.
The $250 gift voucher can be spent on anything you like for your party, from hot dogs to balloons, it’s up to you.
The Block Party program runs from May to September, seven days a week and is free of charge. The activities trailer is reserved on a first come, first served basis. The city will close your street for a period of four hours, between the hours of noon and 10 p.m. After the four hours are over, the city will pick up the barricades and activities, but your party can continue if you choose.
“The city brings all the activities you need, closes off your street for you, all you have to do is have fun,” Leonard said.