Friday, August 04, 2006

Block Associations Get Support

Residents interested in forming or strengthening a block association can get expert help on Saturday (Aug. 5, 2006) at Rushmore Field.

The event is the kick-off of a year-long effort to increase the number and activity level of block associations in the city, said Assistant Prosecutor Tiffany Wilson of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. It will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in the park at West Third Street and Rushmore Avenue.

“We want to make it easy on people,“ Wilson said, noting the many commitments that residents already have.

Her office will provide technical training and mentors to new and existing groups. A packet on how to get started will be available at the event.

Plainfield once had more than 100 block associations, she said, but changes over the years have caused the number to dwindle. Presently representatives of 15 to 20 block associations meet monthly at the Union County Prosecutor’s Plainfield offices in the former St. Mary’s School on West Sixth Street.

Wilson said the groups each develop their own interests and styles. The child-oriented Parkside Road-Lakeview Terrace group tends to get together for block parties and holiday celebrations, she said, and its longevity gives it consistency.

Another group that was formed to address a rash of neighborhood burglaries uses a member-only message board as well as a public information portion to keep residents in touch. Wilson said once a crisis passes, such groups may have to find an ongoing focus to stay together.

The new effort to strengthen block associations includes the chance to help other neighborhood groups, such as historic district associations and organizations that include many blocks, such as the Friends of Sleepy Hollow. Wilson said her office wants to be a resource for all groups that want to improve their leadership, meet city officials and learn strategies for better neighborhoods.

For more information, call Wilson at 908-791-7130.

--Bernice Paglia


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