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Night to Unite

Campus neighborhood gets together at community event.

Tim Krohn, Mankato Free Press, 8-29-2012

Wilson has seen a half century of changes at what is now the edge of the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus.

“I live on Warren, near Balcerzak. It was a gravel road in ’62. There was nothing out here but fields.”

Despite the development and the 16,000 students at Minnesota State Mankato, Wilson still loves the area.

“It’s a nice neighborhood. Nicer in the summer before the (stu­dent) traffic picks up. We’ve never had any problems with crime or anything.”

Wilson was at Highland Park Tuesday evening at one of the Night to Unite neighborhood gatherings held around the city.

Marvin and Sylvia Allen have been in the neighborhood 26 years and say the area is safe and the neighbors active.

“We have an association that meets. Parking is one of the biggest issues,” said Marvin.

“The city has been real good, though. They talk to us a lot.

They try to do what’s right.”

Minnesota State Mankato hockey players Charlie Thauwald and Tyler Elbrecht were at the event, part of a full-team outing that covered Highland and Washington parks.

“We just wanted to meet the community and say who we are. It’s nice to get out and talk to the little kids who play hockey,” Thauwald said.

At the downtown Washington Park, Minnesota State Mankato social work graduate stu­dents Imad Mohamed and Jennifer Bramstedt were vis­iting after hearing about the event at school.

“There is a lot of pride here,” said Mohamed. “ You have to give credit to the whole city. It’s a good way to find out what’s going on.

Everybody is here — the police are here, the fire department, the neighbors, the press.”

The fourth annual Mankato Night to Unite is later than the national event because the city wanted to include college students who returned to Mankato last week.

The crime and drug prevention event aims to bring neighbors together through block parties, cookouts, parades, police visits and youth activities, among other things.

Part of Tuesday night’s events also included three apartment complexes formally getting their certification as crime-free multi­housing properties.

The Downtowners Apartments, Park Place Townhomes on Butterworth Street, and an apart­ment on South Fifth Street received the certification.

Crime-free multi-housing is a prevention program designed to reduce crime in complexes.

Mankato now has 13 properties in the program.

Police officers, firefighters and other city staff visited every regis­tered event, allowing residents to ask questions about crime, fire prevention, snow removal, street repairs or anything else related to city services.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at

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