Hamilton’s East End neighborhood is throwing a block party Saturday with the help of some friends from other parts of the city.
The East End, located immediately east of Ohio 4 and immediately south of High Street, made news last summer when a Hamilton grandfather and pastor, Dennis Matheny, started a “No Drugs Today” campaign. He sat outside, next to cardboard sign with that message, to ward away dealers of heroin and other drugs.
The East End also was where Hamilton firefighter and paramedic Patrick Wolterman was killed Dec. 28, 2015, while fighting a blaze in the 1300 block of Pater Avenue. Lester Parker and William Tucker were sentenced to life in prison after they were found guilty of murder and arson in late 2017.
“Anybody’s welcome,” said Frank Downie of the PROTOCOL organization, which represents the Lindenwald neighborhood in Hamilton’s 17Strong effort, which has been strengthening the city’s 17 neighborhoods in recent years.
Organizers say the event, at the intersection of Parkamo and Lincoln avenues, will be child-friendly and family oriented, with food, refreshments and entertainment. The party will happen from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Also at the event will be several social-service agencies, with people from them willing to answer questions about drug addiction and prevention, and the opportunities for drug rehabilitation.
After the “No Drugs Today” events, people from the neighborhood met, but crowds eventually dwindled, Downie said. During the spring, Downie and people from other neighborhoods attended meetings, talking about the micro-grants, “and they came up with this idea of a block party,” with use of a micro-grant, Downie said.
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The neighborhood organization, named Hamilton’s Own Mobilizing the East-End (HOME), received donations from local businesses to help the block party. It is on Facebook under the name, “East End of Hamilton, OH.”
After a party-organizing meeting this week, a woman asked him, “After this is over, we’re going to keep meeting, aren’t we?” She suggested setting a date.
That question “made my day, made my year, maybe made my seven years (of community-buiding), Downie said.
Outsider advocates also have been helping plant seeds for other neighborhoods, including the Jefferson neighborhood, located south of High Street between the East End and Downtown, and the North End & Fordson Heights area, located west of Ohio 4 and north of the Dayton Lane neighborhood.
In the Jefferson neighborhood, “we’re organizing our neighborhood group (the Jefferson Alliance), said Woody Parman. The group has been energized by the recent donation of 1.2 acres of vacant land near Hensley and East avenues, where proponents and the city want to create a park. Frank and Joanne Pfirman, and their family of Hamilton steel companies (including Matandy Steel in the neighborhood) contributed the land.
Hamilton micro-grant applications for the next round of funding (up to $2,500 per project) are due July 31.
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