Millvale to kick off summer with block party
Millvale is planning on kicking off summer in a big way — by shutting down an entire block for its Rally in the Alley all-ages event combining entertainment, crafts, refreshments and bike and helmet giveaways for Millvale children.
The Millvale Community Library, Millvale Police Department and Tupelo Honey Teas are sponsoring the party from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the block encompassing Grant Street from Sheridan to East Sherman Street. Planners encourage guests to bring their bikes.
Millvale resident Michael Potoczny, The Wheel Mill indoor bike park’s general manager, hopes to secure 20 to 30 bikes for giveaways using his job connections. Through his position, he is working with Free Ride, a Pittsburgh bicycle collective dedicated to recycling bikes, to see what the owners can donate from their inventory.
Meanwhile, police Chief Tim Komoroski is soliciting monetary donations from local businesses. He said that last year, every Millvale councilman donated his paycheck to cover the inaugural event’s expenses.
“I’m also working with some brands that The Wheel Mill’s Bike Shop sells to get discounted bikes,” Potoczny said. “In the past, different bike brands have given great deals to charities that I’ve helped get bikes and they said they could do that for the Millvale Rally, too.”
The event is open to people from all over the area, and children who aren’t from Millvale will have the opportunity to win gift baskets.
Potoczny said that he is excited to bring The Wheel Mill’s obstacle course to Millvale for the party.
“He is absolutely a partner from God. He has donated so much. It’s unbelievable,” Komoroski said regarding Potoczny.
Zaheen Hussain, Millvale sustainability coordinator and New Sun Rising sustainability director, is coordinating the rally, constituted mostly of volunteers.
Komoroski said the Millvale police force is volunteering for the event, as well as Shaler police officers Joshua Logan, Dennis Gapsky III, and Kenneth Wise III, who will bring his motorcycle. Komoroski wants children to gain familiarity with officers so that they will approach them if something is wrong.
He was inspired to create the rally last year when he asked a boy why he wasn’t wearing a bike helmet. The boy replied that he didn’t have a bike. Komoroski asked him why he hadn’t attended the Shaler Bike Rodeo, in order to receive a free bike. The boy told the officer that his family didn’t have a car.
“I said, Lisa (Seel, former library director), let’s have our own. She said, ‘Let’s do it.’ We had 22 bikes. We decided there are so many people here who didn’t have bikes.”
This year’s event also will provide bike safety lessons and inspections.
Visitors will find refreshments from Rolling Pepperoni, Tupelo Honey Teas and a Friends of the Library bake sale.
Groups such as Girls Write Pittsburgh, the Girl Scouts, the Northern Area Boys & Girls Club and Gardens of Millvale will have booths.
While children are making sticker bracelets at the North Hills Community Outreach table, their parents or guardians can speak with NHCO representatives about the organization’s programs, said Jennifer Kissel, communications director.
“We have a strong presence in Millvale and a good rapport with the other organizations and businesses. We want to strengthen our relationships with the residents and just let people know that we are there for them. Millvale is a unique community — the businesses, the borough, the police, the churches and nonprofits are all vested in making it the best place possible for the people.”
Susan McClellan, library executive director, said the event also will celebrate the launch of the library’s summer reading program.
Erica Cebzanov is the Tribune-Review contributor.