Block Clubs: Not Just Beer & Bounce Houses

I would say this blog demonstrates my passion for the North Buffalo community, and specifically, my neighborhood. But talking the talk (or blogging the blog) only goes so far. So, on May 30, I attended my first SCBA meeting. Translation: I went to Bertha’s for a block club meeting with the residents of Saranac’s central block.

happiness is a bounce house

Growing up as kid, I didn’t know much of block clubs – only block parties. I just thought block clubs provided a legitimate excuse to close off the street for a day, eat a lot of food and rent a bounce house. Turns out, there’s a shit-ton (yes, a shit-ton) of good that can come from these organized neighborhood gatherings. And for the record, you’re never too old to enjoy a good bounce house.

Some pleasant learnings and observations from our meeting:

We have a leader. His name is Vince. There was an agenda. Neighbors Joan and Justin own Bertha’s. Our District Common Council Member, Michael LoCurto, along with legislative assistant, Alyssa Weiss, actually attended. There was open dialogue, suggestions, minor complaining, agreements, and some occasional laughter between the residents and the city representatives. We discussed much needed sidewalk repairs (which I might add have begun and my driveway apron is being fixed as I type, courtesy of National Grid), tree trimming needs, plans and neighbor concerns for nearby Hertel Avenue businesses, development wishes for the former Korean United Methodist Church property, a block sale and even a wine tasting night.

In my initial, un-jaded opinion, it was a wildly productive meeting. I made my $20 donation for annual “dues” and was on my way.

Saranac Central Sign

I live across the street from this sign, and regretfully, it took me two years to attend my first meeting and meet some of my fine neighbors in person. I’ve been following the regular updates of the Saranac Central Block Association Facebook page for quite some time now, but just shook hands with Vince Gregory, the block president, a month ago. Social media is both a blessing and curse in this respect as it allows you to stay informed without actually engaging – somewhat defeating the tight-knit community concept. But for anyone who may be interested in starting a block club or joining a block club, I’d say the SCBA page is worth a follow, to see what an active and productive block club looks like. But don’t let “likes” be your only way of contributing to your neighborhood.

Much more to come as this relationship with SCBA grows…