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Three neighborhood block parties get Council approval

The City Council on Monday showed its interest in getting people out of their homes and into the streets this summer for a series of three neighborhood block parties.

Part of the National Night Out, the block parties are designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, and provide an opportunity to celebrate and promote police-community partnerships for safer neighborhoods.

The Batavia Youth Bureau and the city's Police Department serve as lead agencies for events from 3 to 9 p.m. July 19 on Norris Avenue in the northeast section; from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 2 at Birchwood Village in the city's southwest area; and from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 16 in Pringle Park on the city's south side.

Interactive displays and aspects of city services will be shown, and the Birchwood Village event will conclude with a family movie.

Other partners in the events include the Genesee Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse, the county Youth Bureau, Sheriff's Office, State Police, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Child Advocacy Center, the Kiwanis Club and Batavia Area Jaycees.

The event began a few years ago as a giant block party in Austin Park near downtown. The new locations will continue to encourage people to ask questions and make comments about city services.

In other business at Monday's meeting, the Council:

*Discussed applying for up to $30,000 in funds from the state's Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for work on the historic former City Hall, which now houses Police Headquarters. The former Brisbane family mansion is within the Courthouse National Historic Register District, anchored by the 1841 courthouse.

*Reviewed the municipal code for the use of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products in public facilities and land. Alcohol is now banned in city parks, but picnic areas are excluded.

Smoking is allowed in parks, but a ban would extend to the eight city parks, including pavilions, playgrounds and athletic areas. The ban also would extend to Dwyer Stadium and Falleti Ice Arena/Skate Park.

A public hearing on the ban will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 8 in City Hall.

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