Jul. 29—Block parties and pool parties are making a comeback next month with a goal of building connections to improve safety.
Many area communities are holding Night to Unite gatherings on Tuesday. The city of Mankato will celebrate later in the month.
The annual community-building gatherings were canceled last summer due to the pandemic but most are back on this year.
North Mankato Police Chief Ross Gullickson said the primary goal of Night to Unite is to create opportunities for residents to connect with and get to know their neighbors.
"Neighborhood connection and communication is an important aspect of helping to keep neighborhoods safe," the chief said.
In many communities, first-responders visit the gatherings.
"Secondarily, Night to Unite is an opportunity for people to connect with their police and fire officials to talk about concerns, answer questions, and sometimes just enjoy some idle chit chat with one another," Gullickson said.
In North Mankato, some neighborhoods are holding gatherings and the Taylor Library also is hosting a celebration in Storybrook Park, 900 Nicollet Ave.
The library's party is from 6-7:30 p.m. with games, music, visits from police officers and firefighters, and free pizza and drinks while supplies last.
Block party organizers can still register their gatherings to be visited by first-responders. Go to www.northmankato.com.
Eagle Lake's celebration is 5-7 p.m. at Epiphany Lutheran Church. The Lions Club is hosting games. Police officers will be there and firefighters are bringing fire engines. Hot dogs and other food will be available for a freewill donation to the city parks department.
The Rapidan Heritage Society is hosting a potluck from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Town Garage near the Town Hall.
The Waseca police and fire departments will once again host a pool party from 5-7 p.m. Along with free admission to the Waseca Waterpark, free food will be available and residents can meet police officers.
The city of St. Peter usually holds a pool party on Night to Unite but this year is holding two separate events.
Neighborhood block parties are encouraged on Tuesday and some parties that already have registered will be visited by first-responders.
A pool party with the police and recreation departments will be held 5:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at Veterans Park. There will be free swimming, inflatables, crime prevention tips, emergency vehicles on display and prizes.
In New Ulm the committee that plans an annual celebration opted to cancel due to continued COVID-19 concerns.
The city of Mankato holds its Night to Unite celebrations later in the month in an effort to include college students. This year neighborhoods are encouraged to hold gatherings on the evening of Aug. 24.
The city is inviting neighbors to register their gatherings for visits from public safety and other city representatives. Go to www.mankatomn.gov/residents/neighborhoods/night-to-unite.