Kids are the focus of McAdams Park neighborhood party

The way James Arbertha sees it, children are the key to keeping neighborhoods vital.

They played a prominent role in the McAdams Park neighborhood’s block party as part of the Celebrate Safe Communities event Tuesday night.

“We’ve got children expressing their God-given talent,” said Arbertha, executive director of Power CDC, a local community development organization. “We didn’t do that last year.”

The block party was held in front of the Historic Dunbar Theater, 1007 N. Cleveland.

“You’ve got to recognize our children,” Arbertha said. “They are our future.

“How you raise them has a lot to do with how they turn out.”

Arbertha was hoping to double the size of last year’s turnout of about 300 people for the initial Celebrate Safe Communities, which replaced the National Night Out gatherings in early August. The event encourages residents to hold block parties and get to know their neighbors.

The closer that neighborhood residents are, the better they keep an eye out for each other, event organizers have said. That, in turn, reduces crime because folks more readily recognize people or activities that seem out of place – such as strangers coming into and out of a neighbor’s house.

Computer problems prevented city officials from getting a firm grasp on how many neighborhoods held block parties Tuesday night.

“All of ’em should, if you ask me,” Arbertha said. “It’s about safe communities. They should all be involved.”