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Baldwin Borough Community Day isn't what it used to be

| Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Booths line the upper parking lot of the Baldwin Borough municipal building.

Games, carnival food and rides for the children are ready to enjoy.

Yet, the crowds that once filled Baldwin Borough's annual Community Day event are missing.

“I keep hearing from residents, ‘I'd love to see it get back to where it once was,'” Baldwin Borough Manager John Barrett said.

Baldwin Borough officials are looking for residents with ideas to help plan — and bolster attendance and excitement — for the municipality's 2014 community day.

Council members in a unanimous vote at their Feb. 18 meeting agreed to seek volunteers to assist in the event's planning.

“We want to see what's out there,” Barrett said.

A form for those interested in volunteering is available on the Baldwin Borough website, www.baldwinborough.org. Those interested in volunteering also can contact borough officials at 412-882-9600.

Council members for the last several years have discussed frustration with the lack of attendance at the event that is supposed to bring together residents from the town of 20,000. Community day takes place each year at the Baldwin Borough municipal complex.

“I want to have Community Day, but something has to be done,” Mayor David Depretis told his colleagues at last month's council meeting.

Members of the independent Baldwin Borough Community Day Association have worked to plan the event, with borough support in funding as much as $7,500 toward the event in a given year, municipal officials said.

The event traditionally is held on the first Saturday in June.

A meeting between association leaders, borough officials and residents looking to volunteer in recent years — seeking to bolster ideas for the day — proved unsuccessful, Barrett said. Attendance at the day-long event — which starts with the Baldwin Mile, a parade and an afternoon of booths, children's rides and entertainment and ends with fireworks — has been minimal during the daylight hours, Barrett said.

Last year, borough officials put the kibosh on plans from the community day association to hold a boxing event midday on municipal grounds during the event, saying it was not family friendly.

The volunteers being sought can coexist with the community day association and work with them to plan the event, with borough leaders facilitating, Barrett said.

“The framework is there for this to be a positive family experience,” Barrett said.

Fireworks and the free swim are popular, the manager said.

During the day, though, the manager said he estimates there's fewer than 50 people at the event.

“It just gets you thinking — do we keep having this same event and hoping people will show up, or do we make some changes?” Barrett said.

Council President Michael Stelmasczyk told his colleagues they even could hold off having a community day this year and start planning ahead for future events, instead.

Council members, though, weren't ready to pull the plug just yet.

“We want it to transition in some way — to get more people here,” Barrett said. “We want people that have ideas and an interest in seeing those ideas play out.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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