Community on display at block party

LANSING, Ill (August 17, 2019) – Neighbors on the 3600 block of Madison Street had the chance to get to know each other at their August 10 block party. From 1:00–6:00pm, the street was filled with music, food and drinks, and bean bag games. There were treat bags and a bounce house for the kids. Residents talked, ate, and even danced. It was a festive afternoon and a celebration of community.

Neighborhood kids enjoy a bounce house provided by neighbors Juan and Alicia Rodriguez. (Photo provided)

“We were blessed with wonderful weather, generous neighbors, and a genuine, shared desire to get to know one another,” said Terri Stallinga, one of the event coordinators.

Frank Witvoet (left) and Jane Barrera (right) look at old pictures of the neighborhood, brought by Bob Butler (center). Butler has lived on the 3600 block of Madison Street for more than 60 years. (Photo provided)

To host a block party in Lansing, the first thing you need to do is connect with your neighbors. On the 3600 block of Madison, Tom and Terri Stallinga met neighbors Mark and Ginger Escoe on the sidewalk last year, and they started a conversation about how they’d like to get to know others on the block.

Through Christmas cards, they invited interested residents to join a planning team for the block party, and seven others responded.

The team coordinated with the Lansing Police Department to get the necessary permit in the months prior to the party. To get the permit, residents need a petition that is signed by more than 50 percent of the neighborhood. The petition is available on the Village of Lansing website:

The Public Works Department drops off construction horses and cones on the morning of the event, to help residents block off each end of the street.

Juan Rodriguez (left) mans one of the grills at the block party. (Photo provided)
The youngest member of the block, Angel Villagomez, enjoys the party with his mom, Maria (front), and sister, Marianna. (Photo provided)

The neighbors on Madison Street have already begun planning their next block party.

“We have tentatively set it up for the second Saturday in August 2020,” Terri Stallinga said.

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