You bring the party, they bring the trailer
The new Building Blocks Party Trailer by RNeighbors hopes to become Rochester’s summer resource for neighborhood block parties.
The trailer, made available through partnership by RNeighbors, the Rochester Chamber’s Leadership Greater Rochester class of 2017 and Rochester Parks and Recreation, contains everything needed for a successful neighborhood bash. It’s stocked with party essentials: tables and trash cans, coolers and a canopy, even a grill, propane tanks, and at least five bins of yard games and other activities.
In other words, it’s just waiting to be used.
Rene Halasy, director of RNeighbors, said the trailer came about out of a desire to help people find opportunities to come together.
“I think sometimes what we see is neighborhoods will organize if they really want to solve a problem,” Halasy said. “I would really like to see neighborhoods organize, not because of a problem, but because they just want to get together.
To support that goal, the trailer can be reserved, completely free of charge, for neighborhood events in Rochester from April 1 through Oct. 31.
Reservations can be placed online through the RNeighbors website. The trailer can be reserved for the weekend and would be dropped off and picked up by city employees. All neighbors have to do is invite each other, bring the food, and pack everything away afterward.
Halasy noted that permits for road or sidewalk closures for a block party or event would have to be acquired separately from the city. The trailer is also not available for private events, since it is meant to be a resource for neighborhoods.
The Building Blocks Party Trailer is a new offering by RNeighbors, made possible by funding provided by the Leadership Greater Rochester class of 2017. Halasy said the class came to RNeighbors looking for project ideas related to neighborhoods.
“They were like ‘What’s on your wish list, if you had unlimited time and unlimited resources?’”
Halasy immediately suggested the trailer idea, which she had first seen a concept for at a Neighborhoods USA conference. She had talked to representatives from a city in Colorado who had implemented a trailer as a way to promote activity in their neighborhoods. By the second year, that city had to buy a second trailer because it was so popular.
RNeighbor’s trailer was launched last August, but backing from Leadership Greater Rochester will keep it in circulation for the next three years. Halsay hopes it will gain enough traction to remain a free resource for the community long afterwards.
“I hope to see more neighborhoods that say ‘You know, it’s not that complicated to get people together to do picnics,’” Halasy said. “A neighborhood doesn’t really need to have structured meetings to build that network.”
However, so far the trailer hasn’t seen much use. There are just three reservations for the entire summer, one of which is the reunion of the Leadership Greater Rochester class that helped start the trailer.
Halasy says the low response rate is partly due to a lack of promotion by RNeighbors, but added that she hopes to get the word out as the summer progresses.
“Now’s the time,” she said. “We want it to get used.”