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Hillfest Works to Build Safe, Strong Communities

Updated: 08/24/2014 10:40 PM
Created: 08/24/2014 6:40 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage
blesavage@wdio.com

The Central and East Hillside communities gathered together Sunday afternoon for the fifth annual Hillfest celebration. Organizers say they hope it helps community and safety thrive within the neighborhoods.

More than 100 residents came out to participate in activities, vendors and more at the intersection of 4th Street and 6th Avenue East in Duluth. 

"The key thing about community is getting people to talk and interact with each other. It helps build communities, make them safer and stronger and that's the real goal of this," James Gittenmeier said, an organizer of the event, said.

He said this community can help to negate the bad reputations it often gets. On Tuesday, officers say they responded to a shooting near this area that left one man injured. A year before that, there was another shooting on the same block near the Whole Foods Co-op.

Gittenmeier said he doesn't have any concrete numbers to see if the event has helped make a difference in its last five years, but he says there's a clear positive reaction from the community. 

"People look forward to this and they know that this festival is going on, so it's a positive in the neighborhood so that's a good thing and probably the biggest effect we're seeing now is that there is something positive really happening."

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