MORRISVILLE BOROUGH >> Hundreds in Morrisville joined communities across the nation on August 6 for National Night Out.
For three hours at Williamson Park, families and seniors made their way past information booths, enjoyed live entertainment and chowed down on a banquet of food as the community came together to stomp out crime.
“This is a great event for the kids and for the community,” said second ward councilwoman Danielle Larison who chaired the event for the Morrisville Neighborhood Watch. “We have food trucks. We have the hamster balls. All the puppies and kitties are here. We have a flaming baton twirler this year and a game truck. And we have all of our vendors. It’s just a nice, community night out.”
The event also brought out the Pennsylvania State Police, the Bucks County Sheriff’s Department, a stroke and neurologic unit, the Morrisville Business Association, the Morrisville Opportunity Educational Foundation, about 40 antique vehicles, church, athletic local nonprofits groups and local Girl Scouts who spent the evening making slime.
Also stepping out of the history books to join in the fun were Founding Father John Adams (Joe Doyle) and suspension bridge designer John Roebling (James Cordingley). They were there to promote the ActorsNet of Bucks County and its 24th season, highlighted by Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband,” Joe Doyle’s “The Christmas Carol Conspiracy: Scrooge’s Revenge,” Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and Agatha Christie’s “Spider’s Web.”
Night Out committee members were also there selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a huge array of gift baskets. Proceeds from this year’s Night Out raffle will benefit the Morrisville Fire Company.
At a nearby table, a donated giant orange cooler was catching a lot of second looks. The Night Out Committee had placed a skeleton inside the cooler to draw attention to the raffle prize and to show the public just how big it really is.
“It’s always a good time to come out and support our emergency services. And people enjoy it,” said Council President Debbie Smith. “You don’t get better than people coming out and having a big party. We have a nice crowd and we’re excited about it. And everyone is having a good time.”
Adds Larison, “Tonight is all about stomping out crime and honoring our emergency services and thanking them for putting their lives on the line for the community. They are the ones who go out when that call comes in. Everyone else is running away when our first responders are running to the scene. This event shows them that the Morrisville community cares.”
It’s also about neighbors supporting neighbors, adds Smith. “Morrisville is a small town community where our neighbors look out for our neighbors.”
The borough also used the Night Out opportunity to engaged the public on an active transportation plan being put together by the borough and funded through a WalksWork grant.
Throughout the evening, Night Out visitors shared their ideas on ways to enhance the town’s pedestrian and bicycle facilities and answered a survey of what they’d like to see enhanced.
According to Kent Baird, a community planner with Gilmore & Associates, the plan is aimed at improving the mobility, safety and health of residents as they walk, run, bike and roll through the borough to local destinations and regional resources.
“This is some of the best feedback we’ve had,” said Baird, noting that they’ve had residents as young as four and up to their 60s and 70s participate in the survey. “We’re now going to pour over this and look at the routes for getting to the schools safer, getting to the parks safer and getting to the downtown without the need of getting into your car and driving.
“We want people to get more active,” he continued. “We want to see them walking, biking and using their wheelchairs.
“People love the idea,” he said of the feedback they were receiving. “They want to be able to walk more. They want more lighting. They want more stop signs, better pedestrian crossings and bike racks. They have routes that they take around town with missing sidewalks. So we want to fill in those missing sidewalks.”
Of course, it will all cost money, said Baird. “This plan will help us get grants for the next round,” he said.
Representatives from 21 Locks were also at Night Out fielding questions about their brewery and full-service restaurant slated to open before the end of this year inside the former Lehigh Rubber Plant at West Bridge Street and the Delaware Canal.
The plant closed in December 2008 after 50 years in business. It was located across the street from the old Vulcanized Rubber Mill, which closed in 1980 and is now the site of the Mill Pond Shopping Center.
Brewers and Owners Decio Mendes and Kurt Holthenrichs handed out business cards and shared information about the progress of their business, which is expected to be a huge shot in the arm for the Bridge Street Business District when it opens its doors.
21 Locks will include 15,000 square feet of space, including a full production brewery, a full-service restaurant, a cafe and an outdoor Biergarten.
Night Out Morrisville is supported by the Morrisville Borough Neighborhood Watch, Morrisville-Yardley Area Rotary Club and Morrisville Fire Company 98.