STATE COLLEGE — When Ron Madrid talks about students, he instead describes them as “adult residents of the borough who go to Penn State,” making them equal to any other borough resident.
Madrid, the president of the Holmes-Foster Neighborhood Association, and other neighbors across the borough, have worked to make more cohesive communities where they live, aiming for all residents to know each other, at least by sight, and curb bad behavior.
Holmes-Foster, the neighborhood on the west side of Atherton Street and mostly south of downtown, will do that Friday night with its third annual block party. The event takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. in the 200 block of South Gill Street.
Attendees can expect hot dogs, drinks and paper goods, and should bring chairs and a dish to pass. Neighbors can sign up online at www.signupgenius.com/go/20F0C4DAEAB2FA75-holmes.
Neighbor Becky Misangyi is organizing the event and has worked on outreach in Holmes-Foster since 2009, when a drunk student entered her family’s home and was found taking a shower in her daughter’s bathroom. Along with the block party, she started a “welcome walk,” during which neighbors knock on rental house doors and get to know the new faces.
She said the block party has drawn more students each year, with five to 10 at first and between 30 and 40 last year.
“People talked to them, it was really fun to meet them,” she said. “We’re hoping this year that we’ll have even more. The Off-Campus Student Union helps us every year. They are so enthusiastic.”
Madrid praised Misangyi’s proactive efforts to bring neighbors closer together.
“It started off, and continues to be, a way to welcome new neighbors into the neighborhood, be it students or new neighbors who moved,” he said. “We are all accountable for our actions.”
And Misangyi said she hears people talk about the “sense of community” that comes from holding such events.
“I’ve heard only positive things about it,” she said. “Feeling good about your neighborhood, and where you live, and the people in it.”
Boalsburg fire news
The Boalsburg Fire Company will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday to celebrate the start of its $1.7 million station renovation project.
Company members will hold the event at the station, 113 E. Pine St., where they plan to add about 2,500 square feet of space that will give more room for firetrucks and other equipment, as well as sleeping quarters for firefighters.
The company said that the project will accomplish four goals: provide a safer amount of space for firetrucks; provide safe and adequate space for administration and records; make space for sleeping, cooking and living for firefighters who can then respond faster to emergencies; and provide sprinkler protection to the entire building.
Funding for the project comes from the Harris Township fire protection tax. Completion is expected by the late spring 2014.
Jessica VanderKolk writes this weekly column featuring news from the Centre Region. Contact her at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter.