Neighbors meeting neighbors

Mark R. Madler

Weekly neighborhood gatherings on Sparks Street are not an uncommon


So it was only natural that the block would take part in this


year’s National Night Out crime prevention event, taking place on

various blocks around the city on Tuesday night.

“The residents do know their immediate neighbors but maybe not the

ones who live three or four doors down the street,” said Patty


Dilibert, an organizer of the Sparks Street gathering. “This makes

people aware of helping each other out.”

Burbank is participating for the third year in National Night Out,

an event started 22 years ago by the National Assn. of Town Watch to

create partnerships between citizens and police to fight crime.

Unlike last year when the city staged a single event in Johnny

Carson Park, this year there will be multiple events staged by up to

12 Neighborhood Watch groups in various parts of the city, Burbank


Police Officer Vee Jones said.

The city’s Park, Recreation and Community Service Department will

also sponsor a gathering on the Chandler Bikeway at Keystone Street.

“For budget purposes we weren’t able to do the one central event,”

Jones said. “In lieu of not participating at all we had each

individual block plan their own event.”

Last year eight block parties took place, while in 2003 -- the

first year the city took part in National Night Out -- there were


four block parties.

Police and city officials will try to stop by as many of the block

parties as possible, Jones said.

Mayor Jef Vander Borght plans to attend as many of the night’s

events as he can fit in, he said.

“It will be nice to meet the neighbors and have the council

presence be there for them,” Vander Borght said.

On Sparks Street, an Americana-themed barbecue potluck will take

place. A band made up of high school and college-aged neighbors has

been asked to perform during the evening as well, Dilibert said.

On the Chandler Bikeway, food and drinks will be available along

with a bike decorating activity and appearances by the Burbank Police

mounted and bicycle units, said Ernie Seiler, a senior recreation

leader with the city and coordinator of Friends of the Chandler