A citywide event to foster better relations among students and permanent residents is being revived in San Luis Obispo.
The SLO Night with Your Neighbors event, sponsored by the city, Cal Poly and Cuesta College, encourages residents to host gatherings to meet neighbors.
Those who sign up to host a gathering such as a barbecue, potluck or ice cream social on Oct. 3 from 2 to 8 p.m. will be provided with invitations, a yard sign and even a visit from a police car or fire truck on the day of the event.
The program, which was held for the first time two years ago, mimics a program used in Davis to help ease tensions among college students and the surrounding community.
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“This is a way for neighbors to become good neighbors by getting to know each other,” Police Chief Deborah Linden said. “It is about building a relationship before a conflict occurs.”
The program, Linden said, is meant to bridge the gap of communication between students moving into the community and permanent residents.
Cal Poly Associated Students President Sarah Storelli said the concept has been well received by students.
“The goal is to build community and break down some of the stereotypes that occur,” said Ardith Tregenza, neighborhood services manager for the San Luis Obispo Police Department.
The program comes at a time when the city has ramped up efforts to curb partying, noise and underage drinking with municipal ordinance changes.
“Enforcement is just one piece of the puzzle,” Linden said. “Promoting good relationships that enable people to solve problems without the need for one of my officers at the door is another important piece.”
The city also offers a conflict resolution program, in place since 2004, which provides free mediation services through the local nonprofit Creative Mediation to solve neighborhood and landlord-tenant disputes before they become adversarial.
The program, called SLO Solutions, is funded by the city, Cal Poly and Cuesta College. It serves about 700 individuals each year, with 90 percent of the cases opened for mediation resulting in agreement, according to Steffanie Medina, program director at Creative Mediation.
For more information or to register a neighborhood party for Oct. 3 from 2 to 8 p.m. visit www.sloneighbors. org or call San Luis Obispo Police Department’s neighborhood services manager, Ardith Tregenza, at 781-7186.
Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.