Brooklyn Park was home to nearly 200 National Night Out parties in 2019, according to Mayor Jeff Lunde, and no fewer than 43 parties registered with the city of Brooklyn Center for the Aug. 6 nationwide community-building campaign.
The day was bright and sunny, and across both cities, neighbors came together, offering food and community connections.
“It’s our big party of the year ... when neighbors meet neighbors, good things happen,” Lunde said.
A community-building event such as National Night Out that can help break down cultural barriers is important in a city as diverse as Brooklyn Park, where any given street could have residents from Liberia, Vietnam, Scandinavia, among other backgrounds, Lunde said. “Meeting people is the key,” he said.
The National Night Out program started in 1984 and is hosted on the first Tuesday in August.
Community-building is also an important aspect of reducing a city’s crime rate, Lunde said. Parties are often organized around a neighborhood’s crime watch group, and such organizations can help residents feel empowered to take ownership of their communities, he said.
City staff members, including the city’s police force, try to visit as many parties as possible, Lunde said. City staff tends to prioritize visiting neighborhoods with newly formed crime watch groups, as well as neighborhoods that may have had recent issues with crime.
Lunde said he attended three parties this year and engaged in a mini state-of-the-community address at each, taking feedback and questions from residents.
Brooklyn Park has been recognized by the National Night Out organization for its participation, with its number of parties ranking in the top five in the nation for communities with 50,000-100,000 residents in each of the past eight years.
The Sun Post was unable to contact Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott for comment before press time.
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