Everybody got into the fun

August 03, 1997

Everybody got into the fun

Party a good gathering of residents, police, firefighters


Staff Writer

The 300-block of Hagerstown's Central Avenue was blocked off by police and firefighters Saturday afternoon - this time for a block party instead of a crime scene or house fire in the West End neighborhood.

Residents played games while police officers and firefighters passed out crime prevention brochures and fire safety tips.

The block party was one of the first scheduled for throughout the week as part of the 14th annual National Night Out.


About 250 people attended the activities Saturday afternoon at Central Avenue.

The Central Avenue event was organized by the North West End Neighborhood Watch, a group formed to fight crime in the neighborhood.

Hagerstown City Police Sgt. Margaret Kline said one of the reasons for the Night Out events is for residents to get to know each other.

Several neighborhoods will hold events throughout the week, she said. Last year, the neighborhoods held the events at the same time, which made it difficult for police officers and firefighters to get to the different sites to pass out safety information.

Kline said the event also helps promote better relations between the police and fire departments, and the residents.

Garry Rickard, 50, a Neighborhood Watch liaison with the police, said that last year's event helped bring the neighborhood closer together and helped get more of the residents involved in Neighborhood Watch.

"It quieted things down a lot in this neighborhood," Rickard said. "It seems to have brought the people closer together and made them aware of the watch program."

"I just enjoy seeing people together that you normally don't see. It's nice seeing the neighborhood crowd out socially the way they used to years ago," said Shirley Gower, 53, of Georgia Avenue, as she sat at a picnic table in the street.

Lacey Shanholtz, 11, agreed.

"I think it's pretty cool. They've got a whole bunch of games and food," the Clarendon Avenue girl said.

Volunteers sat in a dunking booth, where youths tried to hit a round metal target to put the volunteer in the water.

One of the volunteers, Hagerstown Mayor Robert Bruchey II, chided a youngster in a West End Little League T-shirt who missed the target, saying that it was no wonder the boy's team didn't make it to the championship with the boy having an arm like that.

With the next pitch, the boy sent the mayor splashing into the water.

"It's a good opportunity to meet some of the people in your neighborhood and it's a good way of keeping track of who lives around here," said Renee Jones, 17, of Georgia Avenue.

"It's a good way of meeting new friends and to win stuff," said Megan Kendrick, 9, of Central Avenue.

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