Southwest block clubs win Building Blocks awards

The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) has awarded three block clubs in the Southwest area with a 2006 Building Blocks award, which recognizes the city’s most effective block clubs.

The Whittier neighborhood’s Stevens and 1st Avenue Block Club, Kingfield’s Van Nest Avenue Block Club and Lynnhurst’s 5000 Block of Aldrich Avenue South Block Club will be recognized at a special awards ceremony March 20.

The Stevens 1st Avenue Block Club, led by residents Kevin Gavin and Barbara Betz, has been around for about 30 years. MPD credits the group’s collaboration with police and a crime prevention specialist with putting a dent in crime in the area. In recent years, the neighborhood has seen a drop in prostitution and drug houses shuttered, according to a statement prepared by the city’s Communications Department.

Members of the Van Nest Avenue Block Club in Kingfield sees itself as a social club rather than a block club and often holds barbecues and potlucks. The club, led by Larry Heller III, Monica Hofe and Beth Larson, has worked with police to address drug dealing and prostitution in the neighborhood.

The 5000 Block of Aldrich Avenue South Block Club in Lynnhurst is known for its neighborhood get-togethers, including its annual Aldrich Block Party, “Wine about the Neighborhood,” a food- and wine-tasting event held in February and March, and “Blocktoberfest,” an annual event organized to help residents have fun and stay in touch with one another.