How to throw a Tosa Block Party

Neighborhood Tic Tac Toe

Imagine your house in the center of a Tic Tac Toe board

How many of your neighbors do you know? How well do you know them? Imagine your house as the center square of a Tic Tac Toe board and the surrounding squares are all your neighbors. Of the eight houses surrounding yours, how many names do you know? (Those houses behind you sure can be tough.) Do you know anything about your neighbor that isn’t apparent from the outside of the house (i.e. John likes to garden, Mary likes to cook)?

A block party is the perfect opportunity to meet and get to know your neighbors. By knowing who lives on your block you can know who might need a little extra help from time to time, find out about the neighborhood’s history from those who have been there for a longer time, and know what skills your neighbors can share. Having some fun with your neighbors can increase the sense of belonging within our community and facilitate neighbors looking out for one another.

Types of Block Parties

Any option (or combo of options) can work, but keep it simple:

  • BBQ – Someone brings the grills, everyone brings their own meat
  • Picnic – Everyone brings their own food
  • Pot luck – Everyone brings a dish to share
  • Catered – Everyone shares the cost to let someone else do the work

Location

Public spaces are best, as it increases the sense of community and shared responsibility for the event:

  • Street or alley (permit required)
  • Backyard
  • House
  • Garage

Timing

You’ll need to plan ahead, especially if you want to use the street (permit application is due 3 weeks prior to the event). Have a couple of dates in mind as you go around to notify neighbors because adjustments may need to be made if neighbors have conflicts. Per city ordinance, block parties are allowed until 10 p.m. Every year during the first week of August the City of Wauwatosa and Wauwatosa Police Department host Tosa Night Out, which is “designed to build and sustain community police partnerships that have a lasting impact on the quality of life for Wauwatosa’s residents, businesses, and visitors.” In recent years that large community event has been paired with a encouragement to neighbors to hold their block parties on the weekend prior to the event. If you are struggling to determine when to hold your block party, we strongly suggest participating in the lead up to Tosa Night Out.

Wauwatosa Block Party Permit

If you are hosting a block party in the street, remember that a permit is required. Petition forms can be obtained at the Police Department Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the front desk, or you can download a Block Party Permit Application/Petition. The petition for a permit must be returned to the Police Department a minimum of 3 weeks prior to the block party. Not only do signatures from all neighbors need to be obtained, but all non-residential establishments within the area that would be impacted by the street closing need to be notified. The cost for the permit is free, however the permit includes a few options for barricades for a modest fee.

  • For a $35 fee (payable with your application) the Public Works Department will deliver two (2) barricades before the party and at the conclusion of the party with placement of barricades on curb area the City truck and crew will pick up the barricades the following work day.
  • Block party banners are available from Community Support on a first come, first served basis with a $25 deposit that will be returned when you return the banner.

Getting the word out

The whole point is to meet your neighbors, so going door-to-door is always best. Flyers can be also be used for planning with a request that neighbors return their suggestions to the organizer(s) and again once the block party details have been determined.

Set up

Consider using a sign-in book to help plan for next year, which can also be used as a contact list to distribute to the participants. Name tags can also be helpful (first name/last name/house number), you may be meeting a lot of new people, and remembering names is hard. Be sure to have plenty of tables, chairs, plates, cutlery, cups, and beverages. Don’t forget to wheel out a couple of garbage cans to make clean-up easier. Be considerate to your neighbors and ask if its OK to bring your dog out too. Make sure there are going to be enough people hanging around until the end to help clean up. Near the end of the night, talk about what worked, what didn’t, and any new ideas.

Block Party Activities

Food and drinks usually are the primary focus, but there are plenty of other things to consider. Kids (and many adults) appreciate games like egg/water balloon toss, sack races, volleyball/badminton, etc. (Prizes can help encourage participation, anything from dollar-store gag gifts to a trophy that travels to the annual winning house). Bouncy houses can be rented for very reasonable rates. The whole point is to get to know your neighbors, so make time to introduce one another and point out your house. This can be done informally, or in game format.  Whether it’s a portable speaker with tunes, a neighbor paying the guitar or even a band, music can really liven the party. Be sure to invite the Police Department, Fire Department and your alderman. They can provide safety and neighborhood updates and maybe even arrange to have a fire engine stop by.

Final Reminders

  • Block parties are only only allowed until 10 p.m.
  • Emergency vehicles may still need access, so don’t block the street in any way that can’t easily be moved.
  • You may want to post signs or send out a notice the day before the event to remind everyone to remove cars.
  • HAVE FUN!

[Adapted from “Neighborhood Block Party Kit” distributed by the City of Edmonton Community Services Department]


June 2nd is TETNA’s 2018 neighborhood Rummage Sale, sponsored by Beth Jaworski

Saturday, June 2rd, 2018
8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Entire TETNA neighborhood

TETNA Rummage Sale SignOur neighborhood-wide rummage sale for 2018 is the first Saturday in June, which is again sponsored this year by Beth Jaworski of Shorewest Realtors. We hope to see many of you buying and selling at this event!,

Facebook event

To register your rummage sale with the TETNA sale, you can fill out the form below or register by mail.

The registration deadline is May 31st. Registration is open only to those living within the TETNA area (map).

Participating in the rummage is free for TETNA members, and $5 for non-members.

When you register for the TETNA rummage sale:

  • Your sale information will be included in the overall map and listing associated with the Tosa East Towne Neighborhood Association annual rummage sale.
  • TETNA will publish a map and rummage sale list that will be available online to shoppers as an interactive map and as a printable .PDF file until the end of the sale.
  • TETNA will place signs on the perimeter of the neighborhood and publicize the neighborhood sale in local media.

You can call attention to your sale with any signage or banners you want to, knowing that shoppers will be looking for your sale!

How to Throw A Killer Yard Sale contains great tips on making your sale a success.

If you’re interested in helping with the rummage sale in any capacity, or if you have questions, please email Jill McClellan: jillstephany@hotmail.com with the subject rummage.



Design selected for new Tosa East Towne lamppost signs

Tosa East Towne Neighborhood Association received 515 responses to its survey seeking residents’ input on a design for new lamppost signs in our neighborhood. Each of our six finalists received dozens of first-place votes, but there was one clear leader, the colorful design submitted by Tosa East Towne native Zack Goehner.

Zack Goerhner's design

Zack Goehner’s design was selected for Tosa East Towne’s lamppost signs.

Thanks to all who participated in our survey, and congratulations to Zack. The TETNA board at its February meeting approved his design for our lamppost signs.

UPDATE: We have reached our fundraising goal! Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Zack, 34, grew up on 64th and Meinecke, and after leaving town to live in Seattle for about 10 years he moved back to the neighborhood last year “so my kids could be closer to their grandparents.”

“I have been inspired creatively by our neighborhood since childhood,” Zack told TETNA. “I had countless sketches of our house and crayon-drawn maps of our streets. So I’m forever grateful to have had an opportunity to contribute to our neighborhood through art.”

Here’s how he describes the idea for his winning sign design:

“The design was inspired by the majestic rows of bungalows that stand throughout our neighborhood — Tosa East Towne’s signature aesthetic and symbols of our closeness as neighbors. I tried to capture the enchanting colors and shapes that appear when the first and last light of the day hits our streets. The signs will be a warm welcome: unique and colorful, just like we are.”

You can find more works in his portfolio at braveappliance.com.

TETNA will discuss ordering and installing the signs at its next meeting, at 7 p.m. March 12 at Center Street Park Pavilion. All are welcome to attend.


Volunteer Appreciation Night planned as TETNA encourages more residents to get involved

There are so many ways to get involved in our neighborhood. Tosa East Towne Neighborhood Association invites residents to consider donating their time and energy to ensure our events and services continue in the future.

Please email info@tosaeasttowne.org if you are able to help fill any of the following volunteer roles:

TETNA board: The board meets once a month to carry out the business of the neighborhood association, and board members typically are asked to help now and then at events throughout the year, though each event is organized by a designated coordinator. Attending our annual meeting is a great way to learn more, and you can submit your name for our board election on the spot. This year’s annual meeting is 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at Red Dot.

Newsletter distribution: Help distribute copies of our newsletter to homes on your block three times a year.

Newsletter editing: We are looking for residents with a background in communications and/or writing to help compile our newsletter, which is produced three times a year and features short articles on past and future neighborhood events.

Sponsor and advertiser outreach: Help us maintain our existing base of business supporters and add new sponsors and advertisers through personalized contacts.

Kathleen Flanders

Past coordinator Kathleen Flanders hands out drawing prizes before the 2017 Spring Egg Hunt. This year’s hunt is March 24.

Spring Egg Hunt: This year’s hunt is Saturday, March 24. Email us if you are available to help set up at Center Street Park.

Run Tosa Run: Want to help organize our next 5K? We’d love to have you on board. No experience in race management is necessary. We also need residents available to help on race day, which this year will be May 19.

Trick or Treat: Volunteers will be needed to help with registration and our kickoff event, and we’re also looking for an assistant coordinator to help with planning.

Taste of East Tosa: This popular November event is in need of a coordinator, who will line up the East Tosa restaurants that provide the food for the evening. Please let us know if you will help preserve Taste of East Tosa as a TETNA tradition.

Volunteer Appreciation Night

We also want to say thank you to everyone who already is actively involved as a volunteer, from the neighbors who deliver our newsletters to the course marshals who make sure our Run Tosa Run race goes smoothy. Our first Volunteer Appreciation Night will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. March 13 at Tosa Bowl & Bun, featuring a relaxed evening of socializing with fellow volunteers and a sampling of food from Tosa Bowl & Bun’s menu. Drinks, including beer and wine, will be available for purchase.

Invitations were emailed to known addresses on our volunteer list. If you’re one of our volunteers but didn’t receive an invitation, let us know by emailing info@tosaeasttowne.org.


TETNA District 5 Candidate Forum set for March 21 at Roosevelt Elementary

Tosa East Towne Neighborhood Association is hosting a forum with our two District 5 candidates for Common Council, Heather Kuhl and Brent Nistler, from 7 to 9 p.m. March 21 in the Multipurpose Room of Roosevelt Elementary School. The first hour will be a Q&A format before an audience of voters, and the second hour will allow for informal conversations between voters and the candidates.

This is not a debate but rather will be a chance for voters to learn more about the two candidates and what they think about issues of interest to the neighborhood. We encourage you to suggest topics you would like us to cover at the forum by emailing info@tosaeasttowne.org, visiting our Facebook event page. or tweeting to us at @TETNA or with the hashtag #tosa5th. The forum will be moderated by TETNA Board President David Paulsen, who will ask the candidates some of the questions submitted in advance of the forum and at the event.

Facebook event

So join us March 21, and don’t forget to vote! Election day is April 3, and our polling station is now the Firefly Room at Wauwatosa Public Library, 7635 W. North Ave.

More about Heather Kuhl

Heather Kuhl

Age: 41

Address: 2563 N. 62nd St.

How long you have lived in the neighborhood: Since 2014

Family, professional, volunteer background:
Organizer/Fundraiser/Distributor for Hate Has No Home Here-Milwaukee (distributed 1000+ signs throughout Wisconsin); Volunteer/Activist/Organizer with Progressive Moms of Milwaukee; Roosevelt Parent Volunteer; co-founder/member of East Tosa Moms Huddle; Member of Tosa Equity Advocates; member of Indivisible Tosa; coat/food drive organizer; organized the donation of winter gear to Standing Rock Protesters, Lutheran Social Services; organized the fundraising and purchase of $700 in food gift cards and $125 in mittens to Roosevelt families in need; former Owner/Pastry Chef of Vanilla Vixen Cakes; Owner/Seamstress of Cheeky Bums; Current CEO of Team Kuhl Headquarters/Stay at home parent to 3 kids (Zoe 8yr, Owen 4.5 yr, Mabel 3yr)

Why you want to represent District 5 on the Common Council: I’m running for Alder because I love our neighborhood.  I’ve lived here for almost 4 years and I am still amazed by the sense of community I feel here, both in the neighborhood and in our school.  I think what we have here in Tosa is really special and I want to make sure that we don’t just protect it, but we work together to keep it accessible, safe and green. I also think that the residents of Wauwatosa are hungry to be heard and I would be honored to bring the voice of our neighbors to the common council. I have made an earnest effort to spend my time being of service to our community and I feel that the aldermanic position would be an extension of that service.

On Facebook: Heather Kuhl For Tosa District 5 Alder

More about Brent Nistler

Brent Nistler

Age: 43

Address: 2504 N. Lefeber Ave.

How long you have lived in the neighborhood: I’ve lived in the general vicinity for 17 years – 3 years on 77th and Hadley, 12 years on 68th and Locust, and about 2 years at my current location.

Family, professional, volunteer background: My wife and I met in college and will celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary in August. Our daughter starts at Tosa East in the fall. I own a law practice here in the 5th District at 70th & North. I was an Assistant District Attorney prior to going into private practice. I volunteer as a mediator, I’ve been a volunteer DJ at WMSE since 2000, and I was chair of School Committee at St. Sebastian.

Why you want to represent District 5 on the Common Council: I am running because as someone who both lives and owns a small business in the district, I am fully invested here and want the neighborhood to stay safe, healthy and vibrant. I also have a unique skill set that I believe would help me be an effective alder. I have experience as an Assistant District Attorney making difficult decisions for the benefit of the public, and now in private practice as an advocate for a large variety of people from all different walks of life. Spending my weekdays on North Avenue and walking home to Lefeber at the end of each day, I have a unique perspective on what makes District 5 so great and how we can make it even better. My daughter will start at Tosa East this fall, so if elected my term would run parallel with her high school years. My goal as alder is to make decisions over those four years that would make my daughter proud to call East Tosa home as she ventures out into the world in 2022.

Any other info you’d like to share: I am trying to meet as many people as I can as we approach April 3. If you would like to talk, please call me or text me at 414-416-9009.

On Facebook: Nistler for Tosa District 5 Alder