By Joseph Pratt
The Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing Association (PMHA) is preparing to turn the lights on in its many neighborhoods to celebrate another National Night Out on Aug. 4.
The organization is one of Portsmouth’s oldest in housing, having been created in 1938 after the disaster of the 1937 flood. With its deep roots in the community, PMHA uses its position to help and assist those in need. The National Night Out is only one of the may ways the group has a presence in the community.
The National Night Out is an event celebrated all over the United States and is organized by the National Association of Town Watch. The group promotes community policing and watch groups.
The website describes the group’s efforts as a nostalgic look at the past and the state communities are in today across the country, “Once upon a time, we kept our porch lights on. We opened the door even if we didn’t know who rang the bell. And we could always leave the back door unlocked during the day.”
The National Night Out campaign is a community building effort between local police and those in the area to build camaraderie.
PMHA has many rental homes, apartments, and complexes throughout Scioto County. The locations involved in the celebrations this year include Wayne Hills, Farley Square, Miller Manor, and Lett Terrace. There will also be three sites for the elderly that will have some celebrations going on as well.
All sites will have music, provided from either a disc jockey or a local performer. All sites will also have inflatable games and rides for children to play on. Police and firefighters will be at all locations as well, discussing their roles in the community, letting children get a first-hand look at their gear, and promoting friendships with residents. All other offerings will vary per site.
Some of the extra offerings include free school supplies for students, finger printing for children, various gifts and surprises, games, and more. PHMA administration said they will have over 500 backpacks with supplies going out.
“We will have seven physical sites with activities going on,” Peggy Rice, director of PMHA, said. “For example, we will have inflatable obstacle courses at Wayne Hills and we will be offering cotton candy and hot dogs. We will also have the police there to provide car rides for kids and answering questions. We are closing Fourteenth Street and working with the Fourteenth Street Community Center to provide events. It will just be a good time for everyone.”
Rice said that the event is always a success and they plan on hosting more guests this year, since they have no competition with the fair and are providing a larger event.
“We just want to provide an opportunity to get our staff members out there to meet the residents and we want the law enforcement to have an opportunity to meet with the community,” Rice said. “We want to get some interaction going. We have a drug situation in our community and this is a chance for everyone to come together and take stock in the area.
All events will start at 5 p.m.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.
Officer Mike Queen reported to the National Night Out last year and let kids explore his police cruiser.