Aug. 7, 2006

Neighbors get to know neighbors at National Night Out

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

The rain didn’t stop two Cokato neighborhoods from getting together for National Night Out Tuesday evening.

Residents from Prairie Park and Swanson Avenue from Fourth to Seventh Street gathered to meet new and old neighbors and visit with law enforcement and emergency response personnel.

Margaret Salo, along with Gladys Peterson, Shari Paul, Amber Stumpf, and Tara Heimkes organized the Prairie Park block party.

Due to the rain, the event was moved from the park to the Centennial Room in the library.

The potluck had a good turnout from the 60 houses surrounding the park, according to Salo.

“It’s good to get to know our new neighbors,” Paul said.

Another Prairie Park resident, Linda Korhonen confirmed, “It takes initiative to meet your neighbors.”

While neighbors visited with one another, the children were able to learn about emergency response and law enforcement.

Susie Keskey from MEADA gave information regarding suspicious activities involving drugs to both parties.

“This just goes to show, rain or shine, the determination of the community to try and make it a safer place,” Keskey said.

The Cokato Fire Department gave kids balloons, rulers and activity books about fire fighting and fire safety and were able to tour the fire trucks and law enforcement vehicles.

Sue Thomson and Libby Bayuk organized the Swanson Avenue block party with a Party Time tent to keep their party dry.

Thomson explained they had been trying to do a block party for some time, but it had never been a success.

With the increased vandalism in the area, Thomson thought this would be a good time, she explained.

By putting flyers on neighbors’ doors, the Swanson block party became a success.

“Almost everyone showed up,” Thomson said.

She even said next year a two-tent party would be a good idea for added space.

Cokato businesses helped contribute to the event, according to Thomson.

The Marketplace donated serving items, and other items from Scoops, Dairy Queen, Kirk’s Travel Plaza, Daniel’s and The Grounds. Party Time Tent Rental donated the tent and benches.

“I’d do it again,” Thomson said.

“With so many new people in the neighborhood, I actually met them all – that’s what it’s all about,” she said.

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