The Morris Park Community Association celebrated its 42nd Annual Dinner Dance with a surprise announcement.
The yearly celebration of the east Bronx community group took place on Saturday, April 2 at Marina del Rey.
The fundraiser included an announcement from the event’s sole honoree of a grant to help beef-up the MPCA’s civilian patrols.
The honored guest was Senator Jeff Klein, who announced that evening that he was allocating funds to purchase automobiles and equipment for the patrols, said Tony Signorile, MPCA president.
“He announced at the dinner that he had allocated $100,000 for the simple reason that we have not had new vehicles for close to 20 years,” said Signorile.
The last time new cars were purchased was through Senator Guy Velella when he was in office. ”We were overdue for new cars and Senator Klein was able to allocate this funding.”
The current vehicles are aging, have a lot of miles, and require a great deal of maintenance, said Signorile, who heaped praise on the all-volunteer patrols who help police in the 49th Precinct keep the streets safe.
The volunteers patrol in cars and on foot, and are an integral in preventing the scourge of drugs, vandalism and worse from harming Morris Park, said Signorile.
“Sometimes we have both vehicles out at the same time,” said the association president. “It depends on who is available; the majority of time at night we have both cars out on patrol.”
Signorile said that the association was proud to honor Klein, who grew up and went to school in the neighborhood and now serves it in the state senate.
The senator said that being honored at the MPCA was especially significant because Morris Park holds a special place in his heart as his lifelong home.
“My partnership with the Morris Park Community Association enhances and strengthens this wonderful area,” said Klein. “I’m proud that I secured $100,000 in funding, which will purchase patrol vehicles with specialized radios, fire extinguishers and first-aid kits, so this valuable organization can continue to be the eyes and ears of this community.”
The dinner dance serves as a way to bring the community together for an evening when the concerns are put aside for one night so that neighbors can socialize and have a nice evening out, said Signorile.
“You get together with people you have not seen for years, either because they are not involved in the community anymore or they have maybe moved out of the community and we’re trying to bring them back,” he said. “It is fun to be together one night for a few hours.”
The MPCA dinner dance is typically held in February but this year it was held late, in April, said Signorile.
According to the association president, the date for next year’s dance has already been set for Saturday, April 8, who added plans are already being made for the evening.