Hosting a block party is a fantastic way to create community spirit and strengthen relationships in your neighborhood! Although it might be intimidating to begin the planning process, remember that even the simplest event can lead to wonderful memories.
We chatted with Sargeant Bob Garza, Special Duty Coordinator for the Tucson Police Department, about what permits are needed.
Q. What do we need to do to "close off" our street to traffic for the party? Do we need a permit? If so, what is the process and are there any fees involved?
A. In order to close off a street for a party, you would need to complete the Civic Event Application Form. This would be reviewed by the Civic Event Committee and may require the responsible person holding the block party to attend. During this meeting, it will be determined what further requirements would be necessary for a successful event. This would include things such as off-duty police officers, barricades, traffic control plan, and/or fire inspectors. Normally, if the event is contained in a smaller neighborhood, these things wouldn't be necessary. The Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) will review your plans to block off a street and issue a permit based on your needs. The current cost of this permit is $125. *Check with your HOA to see if they might be able to cover the cost. You may also be able to acquire corporate sponsors for food, decor, and activities.
Q. What is the ideal number of houses/people to include when planning a block party?
A. If your goal is to encourage social functions and get-togethers with neighborhoods, the more houses/people the better! Obviously some people may not be interested, however, it would always be wise to let everyone in the neighborhood know what your intentions are.
Q. Does the City of Tucson offer any complimentary block party kits/supplies for "check out"?
A. Unfortunately, the City does not have any complimentary block party kits/supplies available for check out. If you choose to book a city park for your get-together [instead of blocking off a street in your neighborhood], the Tucson Parks and Rec has equipment available for rent. This includes things such as portable booths, bleachers etc. For further information on what is available, Parks and Recreation can be contacted at 520-791-5909.
Q. Will police officers, firefighters, and/or government officials come out to our street party?
A. I will answer this question in regard to police officers. YES! Police Officers will be more than happy to stop by a block party event, given appropriate notice. Many times, the Command Staff from prospective divisions will attend and make sure everyone is safe and interact with the public and children. I'm positive the same applies to firefighters and/or government officials when they are advised of the event and given proper notification. I personally have attended several block parties on behalf of the Department and enjoy interacting with the people, kids, and event organizer.
HAVE YOU EVER HOSTED A BLOCK PARTY IN TUCSON?
Share your experience + ideas. Tweet photos to @TucsonTopia.
We've also created a "Block Party" ideas board on Pinterest.