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Fun Had at South Side Bethlehem Block Party

Est. Read Time: 3 mins

The Bethlehem Health Bureau ‘s Better Blocks for Bethlehem recently hosted a block party at Madison Park. The event was originally scheduled for the weekend prior, but was postponed by rain to April 10. Free hot dogs and hamburgers were provided by Heaven on a Bun, and free water ice from Kona Ice was a big draw on the spring-like day. The Bethlehem Police and Fire departments were present, as was the Coalition for Appropriate Transportation, and of course the block party hosts from the Bethlehem Health Department.

In addition to food, console games and the playground that is located in the park kept kids entertained, while adults who were present were asked to complete a survey about school transportation.

The students in the neighborhood around Madison Park are in southwest Bethlehem, and their designated school is Fountain Hill Elementary School. The distance to the school is nine tenths of a mile, which is just under the threshold for school busing services, according to Erin Postel of Better Blocks for Bethlehem. Bethlehem Area School District’s transportation policy is that buses for elementary schools begin at 1 mile from the school, and secondary students must live 2 or more miles from their school to receive busing. A new Fountain Hill Elementary School is scheduled to be constructed on the site of the current building on Church Street over the next few years, which means that current and future students will have classes at another location within the district.

Postel described the streets students need to walk as a moderately hilly combination of busy roads and narrow alleys, with lots of cars parked on the streets and reduced visibility, especially for children. There is concern that the lack of safe transportation to school is resulting in higher student absenteeism, and Better Blocks for Bethlehem is exploring options including “walking buses” (human chains of students and adults) and biking to school as potentially safer options to having individual students walk 22 minutes to Fountain Hill Elementary School. They are also seeking neighbors in the area to volunteer to sit on their porches before and after school to watch over the students. If you can help, please contact the Bethlehem Health Bureau.

Better Blocks for Bethlehem is a three-year initiative, funded by a grant, to strengthen communities in five neighborhoods in Bethlehem.

Nedaeh and her brother Brysn age 7, play a game of Cornhole during the Block Party at Madison Park in Bethlehem. (Credit: Lani Goins)

At the check-in table, Bethlehem Health Bureau’s Brittany Pantoni, Erin Postel and Nicole Capasso handed out free tickets for food and water ice. (Credit: Lani Goins)

Scott Selfies and Mark Litak of the Bethlehem Fire Department gave out plastic fire helmets to the children. (Credit: Lani Goins)

The Heaven on a Bun food truck was very popular. (Credit: Lani Goins)

Balloons festooned the park entrance, with a fire truck for high visibility. (Credit: Lani Goins)

Balloons festooned the park entrance, with a fire truck for high visibility. (Credit: Lani Goins)


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About the author

Lani Goins

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