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Night to Unite: Same night, new name for community gatherings

The general idea of the event remains the same, but this year on Aug. 4, Rosemount will celebrate its first annual Night to Unite event. The city has been participating in this event -- previously known as National Night Out --for many years the name and organizers say the name the only thing that's changed.

Due to the belief there were irresponsible fiscal choices involved, the Minnesota Crime Prevention Association announced starting this year, it will no longer be a member of the National Association of Town Watch, which is the organization that manages National Night Out. The MCPA, a non-profit organization, has decided to rename the event Night to Unite. Rosemount encourages neighborhoods to participate in the festivities that are offered, such as block parties, cook-outs, contests and youth activities. People will have a chance to meet their neighbors as well as police, firefighters and local government officials. As the fire department visits the block parties, kids will have an opportunity to go inside the fire trucks and talk to firefighters.

The city believes its newfound independence from NATW gives Minnesota an opportunity to bring some local flavor to this event and to create its own identity. They hope Night to Unite will create solidarity in neighborhoods by encouraging neighbors to meet and become familiar with each other and local officials, potentially forming a new bond within the community.

"It's enjoyable to move from neighborhood to neighborhood to talk with the community; not only adults, but kids, too," said Chad Rosa, the Rosemount police officer in charge of organizing the event locally.

Despite the extra work it involves, Rosa is looking forward to this year's event.

"It's an overall good feeling to see the community come together," he said.

Rosa believes having this event strengthens both official and resident relationships, which hopefully reaches the goal of creating a safer place to live.

In the past, this event has been popular, with multiple neighborhoods registering and throwing friendly block parties. Many of the same neighborhoods will continue this year, along with new participants. Even apartment complexes have decided to participate this year.

Since the Minnesota Crime Prevention Association has sponsored the Night to Unite event, it sounds like residents in Rosemount will once again, be locking their doors and turning on their outside lights to join their neighbors at 6:30 on Aug. 4, this year.