The severe heat didn’t keep hundreds of residents from gathering at Valley Village Park Tuesday evening to celebrate the 29th annual National Night Out. This nationwide event was expected to attract more than 38 million people in 15,325 communities in all 50 states. Another NNO event was simultaneously held just across the 170 Freeway in the larger North Hollywood Park.
According to its website, National Night Out – America’s Night Out Against Crime is an effort to: “heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.”
Valley Village’s NNO was a free event hosted by Neighborhood Council Valley Village (NCVV), and Projects Committee Chairperson Suzanne Lewis and her team worked hard to create a home town affair. There were Subway sandwiches, chips, cupcakes, iced tea, lemonade, and plenty of chilled water.
Jimmy Dale entertained the crowd with his calypso music while dozens of children played in the park wearing their elaborate Art by Karina face painting. Throughout the evening there were raffle prizes and a variety of tables set up with information from NCVV, Valley Village Homeowners Association (VVHA), the Red Cross, and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). Valley Village T-shirts, sweatshirts and leather wraps sold by Colfax Charter’s former PACE President Deana Payne. Guests had the opportunity to race each other on tricycles while wearing beer goggles as North Hollywood LAPD Cadets supervised. Other LAPD officers were on hand to answer questions about crime awareness in the community.
The event concluded with the participants strolling in a police car-guided tour through the neighborhood holding flashlights and glow sticks.
NNO coincided with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the newly renovated Valley Village Park. This occasion was led by District 2 Councilmember Paul Krekorian, who gave a speech along with 42nd District Assemblymember Mike Feuer, NCVV President Tony Braswell, VVHA President Peter Sanchez, and General Manager of Recreation and Parks Jon Kirk Mukri. Certificates of Commendation were given to Braswell, Sanchez, NCVV Projects Committee members Suzanne Lewis, Ginny Hatfield, Steven Stokes, Dorothy Apple, and Cathy Flynn, VVHA Executive Vice President Breice Reiner, Ramon Barajas, Superintendent of Maintenance Operations for the Department of Recreation and Parks, and Patricia Davenport, former Field Deputy for Councilmember Paul Krekorian.
Park renovations included 20 new picnic tables, two game tables, a new walking path, three park benches, three doggie bag stations, playground shade structures, a new baseball backstop, and updated lighting. Shade structures for the picnic area will be installed within the next few weeks. Funding for the new park amenities came from Quimby fees, which are paid for by nearby residential subdivision developers.