Baldwin Council Asks, 'How Do We Make Community Day More Fun?'
A public meeting on Tuesday brought out various ideas for increasing participation and revenue.
Lack of attendance at its 2012 Community Day celebration led the Baldwin Borough Council to hold a public meeting on Tuesday night in order to generate ideas for drawing bigger crowds in future years.
The council turned to the experts themselves—community members—to find out how to make the event better for everyone. And at the meeting, residents, council members and the Community Day committee brainstormed about several different solutions to the attendance problem, including adding new events like a carnival, a swimming tournament and/or performances by schoolchildren.
"We all want it to be the best possible community function it can be," said Councilman Ed Moeller, who has been appointed to oversee the Community Day committee. "It's time to get it together to make it a better function."
Residents were swift to offer their ideas, most of which involved entertaining and involving the community's youths.
Resident Dave Solenday said that there is a significant lack of activities in the middle of Community Day—after the annual parade and before the fireworks show.
As a possible solution, another man—name unavailable—offered the idea of inviting borough schoolchildren to perform acts or hold an art display during that time.
"Part of our community that we overlook is our schools," the man said. "It makes us more connected with the youth."
Both the council and the Community Day committee agreed that, if kids are present and having fun, parents will stay longer and spend more money.
Moeller suggested taking advantage of the borough's municipal swimming pool by sponsoring swim races. Other water-themed ideas that were bounced around were an "anything that floats contest" and water battles between local fire companies.
Solenday also proposed bringing back a carnival-style Community Day celebration like the borough had sponsored in years past.
"That draws families, teens and everybody,” Councilman John Ferris said.
Ferris said that one large benefit to the carnival style was that the borough didn't have to pay a dime. Instead, a sponsoring company received half of all ticket sales revenue, and the borough received the rest, which the council used for other municipal efforts.
The drawback, Ferris said, is that the company that the borough used to partner with (from Florida) required a minimum celebration length of five days, making it hard to turn a profit.
Space for parking at the Baldwin Borough Municipal Complex was a huge issue this year for the Community Day committee.
Resident Steve Radacsi suggested parking Community Day attendants at borough schools, and borough Manager John Barrett said that the borough does have permission from Baldwin-Whitehall School District officials to use district buses to shuttle people from school parking lots to the municipal complex.
With no parking at the complex, the extra space could be used for more events and booths.
- Ferris suggested creating a community booklet to raise money for Community Day.
- Council President David Depretis suggested a basketball tournament and craft vendors as well as offering prizes that can only be collected during Community Day.
- Resident Carrie Radacsi would like to see vendors bring baskets to raffle off during a Chinese auction.
- Moeller suggested a car show.
Although there were many ideas proposed, Ferris pointed out the need for more community involvement with planning and advertising Community Day.
"There's a lot of things you can do," he said, "but it takes a lot of volunteers."
The Radacsis raised the point that many parents don't know how to get themselves or their children involved with the community effort to plan the day.
Depretis said that he would remedy that problem by posting information for volunteers on the borough's website.
The Community Day committee wants to have another, separate meeting, committee member Colleen Kuczinski said. Kuczinski said that she was thrilled by the ideas generated during Tuesday's discussion and wished that it had happened sooner.
She also echoed Ferris' call for more volunteers.
"It's not that we don't try to have all that," Kuczinski said. "It's the space and how to arrange everything, and the manpower."
What do you think would make Community Day more fun? Tell your neighbors in the comments section below.
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