By Sandi Latimer
In the beginning, residents were asked to turn on their porch lights the first Tuesday evening of August to show support for law enforcement and as a way to deter crime.
“I remember that,” said Lisa Boggs, a community activist organizing her 14th edition of National Night Out in the South Central Hilltop area.
National Night Out is observing its 35th year on Aug. 7. It is designed as a way to foster police/community relations. The South Central Hilltop event that started in front of the Boggs’ residence has grown to the point that it will be held at the John Burroughs Park behind the Burroughs Elementary School.
“This is a park owned by Columbus City Schools. Having National Night Out there will draw attention to the park and its much-needed improvements,” Boggs said.
This year’s event runs from 6 to 8 p.m.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) will bring their traveling exhibits. The Columbus Police K-9 unit will be there, and kids can have their photos taken in a fire truck.
One of the newer exhibits is an art mobile where teachers will be giving instruction in art. They are set up in two tents making it one of the reasons the event had to be moved from the street to the park.
Not only will there be entertainment, the adults will find tables that provide information to help improve the community.
South Central Hilltop is not the only area National Night Out event that outgrew its original location. The Eastfield/Westfield event in Franklin Township had to relocate to the Central Baptist Church because of its popularity, said Township Trustee John Fleshman.
Another Westside event gaining in popularity is the one put on by the Greater Lincoln Village Block Watch.
“We are grateful the 2017 event was so successful,” said David Donofrio, a co-leader of the block watch. “The 2018 event will be bigger and better.”
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office will bring horses and a dog; the Prairie Township Fire Department will have a truck on site; country music will be offered; and community leaders will be on hand to mingle with the crowd so residents can get to know them better.
Helping make this second annual event bigger is the fact that several people and businesses asked how they could get involved, said Donofrio.
Ryan Ladina, the other co-leader, extended an invitation to area residents, “to come out and have a good time.”
This event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Murray Hill North between Medfield and Beacon Hill.