Block Party Lets North Side Children Have Fun

Article excerpt

When Cynthia Battle was a little girl, her mother would order her to go outside and play.

Now Battle, 53, lives in Perry South in the North Side, in a neighborhood where many parents now are afraid to let their children out of sight.

"I live in a community where children hear a lot of gunshots," Battle said. "These children cannot go outside and play."

Except that yesterday they could.

Battle organizes and hosts a block party in front of her Chester Avenue home every year. Pittsburgh police put up road blocks so the kids could play safely in the street.

"I really want all the children in the neighborhood to be comfortable and play outside," Battle said as swarms of children crowded a face-painter, played hop-scotch and munched on hot dogs and cookies. "It's hot today, but that didn't stop the spirit of these children."

The Chester Avenue block party, now in its third year, offers North Side kids a break from the violence they often witness. …