National Night Out aims to unify West Valley City neighborhoodsAug 30, 2021 05:23PM ● By Darrell Kirby
Residents of 2855 West in West Valley City grab some food as part of their neighborhood’s National Night Out block party. Similar gatherings are held throughout the city each August to bring people together to create safer, more unified neighborhoods. (Darrell Kirby/City Journals)
By Darrell Kirby | [email protected]
A quiet street lined with 1960s era homes in central West Valley City took on a festive air on a Friday night in August.
Residents of 2855 West just north of 3100 South mingled in the middle of the blocked-off street for their local celebration of National Night Out. It was one of a series of gatherings sponsored by the city each year to help neighbors get to know each other to make their areas better, safer places to live.
NNO block captain Mindi Holmgren has held parties before on her street but not of this scale and purpose. “I want to bring a greater sense of community,” she said while clad in a light blue t-shirt with the National Night Out logo. “I want our neighbors to know each other. I want us to be friends, wave when we get our mail and just help each other out when there are emergencies, problems, or issues.”
Mandi Beauchaine, an 11-year resident of the neighborhood, helped Holmgren put the event together. “The purpose is to get out, have fun, meet everybody, and just kind of make those connections and try to make a stronger community together,” Beauchaine said. “The ultimate goal is to make sure that people are taken care of and watch out for things that are going on in the community.”
Holmgren said the idea of having a local National Night Out stemmed from a program called “My Hometown.” Launched last year by West Valley City, the initiative brings together financial, material, and human resources from the city, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other organizations to help clean up and improve neighborhoods suffering from the effects of age, neglect, crime, and the transitory nature of its residents. It’s first revitalization project took place earlier this year in the Hillsdale neighborhood not far from Holmgren’s.
West Valley City’s Neighborhood Services Office provided funds for Holmgren and her fellow NNO organizers to get hot dogs and supplies for the event, supplemented by additional goodies brought by neighbors. My Hometown also chipped in money to rent a bounce house, dunk tank, face painter, and balloon artist.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do all this on my own,” Holmgren said.