Events 2016 Calendar
Hamilton Block Party
Celebrating 10 years of Affordable Housing at Bay Vista Apartments, Novato, California!
Red, White and Blue! Our 2016 Patriotic Theme!
Special thanks to Tai and staff for coming up with the theme and presenting awards to our supporters.
PRIZES ~ FOOD ~ ENTERTAINMENT ~ WATER SLIDES, JUMPERS
CONTESTS: Dance, Chile Bean and Dessert Contest
First, Second and Third Places
- Dessert Contest: $100
- Chile Bean Contest: $100
- Dance Contest: $100
Also, two 60 inch flat screen TV's (Raffle: Tickets sold on site)
And activities, food...
- 2 Giant Waterslides
- 4 Jumping Machines
- Free hot dogs, nachos, snow cones, desserts...
Stephanie Weldy, Marin Independent Journal
August 12, 2016
A thousand residents are expected to gather for a block party today with hot dogs, water slides and giveaways at Novato’s Bay Vista Apartments.
The party is not only a way to bring together residents of Hamilton’s affordable housing communities — Bay Vista Apartments and Creekside at Meadow Park.
It is also a way to celebrate healthy and happy living in the communities that were once no strangers to crime, said Manny Fernandez, executive director of the nonprofit Marin Family Action.
“It’s every year we keep the crime rate down,” said Fernandez, head of the group that organizes the annual party. “It’s an incentive for neighbors to communicate and to ensure neighborhoods are safe.”
Affordable housing often comes with a negative reputation by some who fear it will attract robberies, drugs and other crime. Marin Family Action stepped in to help counter any negative impacts and to create a sense of community in Novato’s affordable housing structures.
The Bay Vista community, built in 2007, offers 67 affordable housing units, according to Clark Blasdell, president and CEO of Northbay Family Homes. The Creekside community, built in 2004, provides 217 affordable units.
The nonprofit’s Neighborhood Safe Program, which Fernandez founded three years ago, did that with neighborhood watch groups, which designated block captains every four blocks so crime and suspicious activity could be reported. The program also ushered in educational programs including financial literacy classes and neighborhood events such as Saturday’s block party and movie nights. The results have been a game changer, according to those familiar with it.
Marin County Supervisor Judy Arnold said she has seen crime rates decline since the program launched.
“It’s just really an example of what can happen when a community, like the affordable housing at Hamilton, decides they want to be a real community and fight crime in the neighborhood,” Arnold said. “They also want it where neighbors can help each other. It’s a real success story.”
The county contributes roughly $45,000 a year to help fund the program.
Amorette Barron, a resident and block captain in Creekside at Meadow Park, said she has seen residents of the communities become more than neighbors. She said she now knows a large majority of her housing community on a first-name basis.
“It’s important because it helps us give back in appreciation to the community and for them to know we all are one,” she said. “They can come to us or we can go to them.”
Directions to the Annual Block Party!
Bay Vista Apartments, Hamilton Field, Novato: 101 to Nave, then drive toward Hamilton Field, turn onto Bolling Drive, right onto Bolling Circle, right onto Hathaway Drive, right onto Hutchins Way.
Historic Hamilton Field
If you have time, consider touring Marin's historic Hamilton Field, the location of the Annual Block Party. Hamilton Army Airfield was established in the late 1920s as Marin County Air Field. In was named Hamilton Army Air Field on July 12, 1932. During World War II, Hamilton was an important West Coast air training facility. Its mission was that of an initial training base for newly formed fighter groups. The airfield was rapidly expanded to a wartime status, with construction of additional barracks, mess halls, administration buildings, warehouses, Link trainer buildings, schools, hospital and other structures.
Decommissioned in 1975, the former base now serves as planned community with residential, commercial, open space, and civic uses. Hamilton remains an important historical and community asset of Novato and Marin County.
Consider a visit to the Hamilton Field History Museum or one of the other treasures in Hamilton field, i.e. walking trails along Marin's wetlands, the Novato Arts Center, Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Unity in Marin, or dine at Cafe Joel.