Last updated: June 27. 2014 2:09PM - 853 Views

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Would it be a good idea to …

… bring people together in your Northeastern Pennsylvania community by holding a neighborhood or block party?

These events – already tradition in some places – can serve many purposes, from welcoming a newcomer to the street, to fostering relationships among people concerned about criminal activity near their homes, to providing a fun, memorable summer day for vacation-weary children.

As an alternative to a party, consider this: Certain residents of South Wilkes-Barre conduct yard sales at their residences on a particular June day. By coordinating the sales, rather than going it alone, they probably draw more foot traffic to the area and boost profits.

Whether intended or not, their yard sale showcase also spurs conversations along the sidewalks among casual acquaintances and strangers. That’s a good start toward forming connections and knocking down stereotypes, the sorts of things that can turn two individuals into friends. Or a so-so place into a stronger community.

We didn’t run the notion of a big block party past Luzerne County’s municipal officials, but, if you’re planning a gathering, you definitely should. Some cities and boroughs will require that you fill out an application or obtain a permit. If a street is going to be partially closed, even for a brief period, emergency personnel certainly need to know about it.

On the subject of police and firefighters, why not invite them to attend the party, providing hands-on activities for children such as flipping on a siren or hefting a fire hose. We stole that party tip from an article titled “Rock around the block,” which appeared on the website sheknows.com with nine other suggestions for “an outstanding block party.” The article also recommended you “set a theme.”

Lots of block party advice is readily available on the Internet; wikihow.com will not only tell you how in seven steps to set up a block party, but also “How to have fun at a block party (for teens).”

Our online search for “How to organize a block party” yielded oodles of interesting results and a smattering of cities, such as Roanoke, Virginia, that promote the notion among their residents. Short on funds? Not to worry; we even encountered a posting for “How to organize and host a frugal block party.”

This summer, why not get to know – or get to better know – the people who live within barbecue-smelling distance of your house?

Give us your feedback by sending a letter to the editor or by posting comments to this editorial at timesleader.com or facebook.com/timesleader.

Likewise, share your ideas for improving the community and making area residents’ lives better. Maybe we’ll spotlight your suggestions in a future editorial and ask readers, “Would it be a good idea to …”

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