Food for thought
Block-nic to offer info this year, not barbecue

       Less food for tummies. More food for thought.
       The seventh annual Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) picnic and West Intergenerational Center block party - informally called a “block-nic” - will not offer a barbecue at this year's event Sunday, July 29, but will provide informational displays and a chance to talk to area elected representatives.
       That's not to say there won't be some appetizers for the free get-together Sunday, July 29 from 2 to 5 p.m. in Bancroft Park. OWN volunteers plan to provide soda pop and cookies, and Westsiders are encouraged to bring their own repasts for a “picnic in the park,” OWN President Welling Clark said.
       For entertainment, West Center staff will sponsor a return performance by its hip-hop dancers and, for children, a pie-eating contest, a teaspoon egg relay, a 3-legged race and a gunnysack race, according to Center Director E.D. Rucker. In addition, there will be Jesse Wilson, a violin-playing storyteller; and Cindy Frankmore, a massage therapist through the center who will offer massages for a nominal fee, Rucker said.
       OWN is the city-recognized neighborhood advocacy group for the older Westside. West is the local community center.
       OWN board members started talking about changing the event's scope after noticing that last year's picnic attracted an inordinate number of homeless people taking advantage of the free hamburgers and hotdogs. Continuing board discussion helped evolve a plan to make the annual gathering “more of an informational type of meeting,” Clark said. “It will be an outreach where people can pick up newsletters and get information. It will make people aware of what is out there.”
       Information displays are currently planned by the Old Colorado City Library, the Red Cross (regarding home preparedness), the Colorado Springs Fire Department and OWN (offering newsletters, its Westside Highway 24 survey results and other handouts).
       Also, awards of appreciation will be presented to the older Westside's Fire Stations 3 and 5. “It's our way as citizens of saying thanks to the firefighters,” Clark said.
       Invitations are going out to all the members of Colorado Springs City Council, as well as “other public officials that represent the area,” he said.
       For more information, call the West Center at 385-7920 or OWN at 471-4023.

Westside Pioneer article