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Westview plans Thursday block party

August 19, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Thursday's block party in the Westview housing complex will offer games for kids and information for adults.

Most of all, according to the organizer, it will provide a sense of community for a neighborhood that has been plagued by drugs and violent crime in recent years.

"I've heard of these things happening, but I've never dealt with one," said Joy Gilbert, who moved into the neighborhood last December.

The party, which run from 6 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. on Ross Street between Lanvale Street and Main Avenue.

Activities will include a baby contest, carnival games, face painting and a puppet show, Gilbert said.

Posters promoting beautification of the neighborhood will be displayed and about 25 organizations will set up tables to give information about services raging from voting to child care.

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Gilbert said she wanted to do something that would bring the neighborhood together after a shooting rocked residents in April.

Several residents of the housing complex said they heard between eight and 10 gunshots fired in succession from a brick and siding duplex at 905 and 907 Lanvale St.

Police found three shell casings in front of the duplex and another across the street near the curb.

A man was wounded in the shooting.

"There just doesn't seem to be a lot going to for everybody here," she said.

Many businesses in the West End have donated items for the event, Gilbert said.

Gilbert said she was encouraged to organize the block party by Judi Dominguez, who works at the Washington County Health Department's Community Outreach program. Gilbert has volunteered at the program.

Dominguez, who organized a block party for her community in Noland Village in 1989, said Gilbert has done a remarkable job.

"She just wants to make her place a safer place for her, her kids and her neighbors," she said. "She's very, very innovative I must say, she has pretty much single-handedly done this."

Dominguez said the block party she organized had lasting impact on her community. Neighbors began to talk to one another and eventually, drug dealers moved away, she said.

"One of the first things you do is invite the drug dealers," she said. "They knew that we were serious It really stopped a lot of things that were going on."

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