Arlington Heights, IL – North School Park has been the host venue in support of National Night Out for 10 years. This nationally recognized community event generates support and participation in local anti-crime efforts to strengthen neighborhood spirit and community relations.
Recently, the Illinois State Rifle Association commented on a request received by the Arlington Heights Park District from the group, Moms Demand Action, to be among the 40-45 vendors on-site at the annual National Night Out event on Tuesday, August 5th between 5:30-8:30pm.
According to an email correspondence received by Executive Director Steve Scholten, on Monday, August 4th, the group "Moms Demand Action would like to withdraw the request to participate in the National Night Out Event, to be held on August 5, 2014 at North School Park." No further explanation regarding their decision to withdraw was provided.
Annually, the Arlington Heights Park District invites vendor applications from local businesses and others who would like to secure a table in the business expo portion of the event. The application process is the same process required of all citizens, civic, religious, business or other outside entities requesting to be at the event.
The consideration of the Moms Demand Action group’s request to be on-site is not unlike past considerations given to park usage applicants for the expressions of free speech. North School Park is considered a public forum and has historically provided a space for the expression of constitutionally protected free speech, subject to reasonable Park District rules and regulations. By law, the Park District must administer this public forum without discrimination and has done so in the past.
"When it comes to managing the Park District on a day to day basis, as employees of the District, we are bound to do what is legal under Federal law. We do not impose our personal beliefs or religious views in these matters because we are stewards of both the public’s trust and tax dollars," stated Scholten.
Most recently, North School Park was the setting for the expression of free speech in September 2011 when the Park District approved a park usage application submitted by Father Correy Brost of St. Viator High School to host an interfaith service for peace in remembrance of the 10th anniversary of the tragedy at the World Trade Center. And in 2012 and 2013, the District approved park usage applications from the Illinois Nativity Scene Committee and the Freedom From Religion Foundation for their displays during the annual holiday light display in North School Park.
National Night Out culminates annually, on the first Tuesday of August in North School Park where between 3,000-4,000 guests enjoy fun activities, learn about crime and drug prevention awareness and enjoy visiting between 40-45 vendor booths sponsored by local businesses promoting their products and services to a largely local crowd. The event is presented locally by the Arlington Heights Park District in collaboration with the Village of Arlington Heights Police and Fire Departments. Generous sponsor support is provided by Target, The Peoples’ Bank of Arlington Heights and the Palatine based Lavelle Law, Ltd. In 2013, the Arlington Heights National Night Out event was ranked #10 in the country by the National Association of Town Watch.
National Night Out is nationally sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and promotion of various crime prevention programs including neighborhood watch groups, law enforcement agencies, state and regional crime prevention associations, businesses, civic groups, and individuals, devoted to safer communities.
Read more information about National Night Out in North School Park 2014. Click here.
The Arlington Heights Park District enriches the community by providing quality recreation, facilities and fun.