Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate, City Administrator Bill Reynolds and Mayor Bill Mars walked into a community room at the River City Apartments, a senior living complex in downtown Shakopee and the room lit up. 

"You've got to make this speed limit five miles per hour," one man said. Others chimed in, bantering with the city officials about their qualms. They talked about a proposed new statue in downtown Shakopee and the hustle and bustle of Rhythm on the Rails. Then, with 13 more parties to hit up, they inched towards the door. 

"It was nice to see you, young man," Mars said to a wispy-haired man named David Clark. 

"Young man," Clark said, chuckling. 

Nite to Unite, a national event that encourages neighborhoods to host get-togethers and allows city officials and police officers to promote public safety and local government participation, was another annual success in Shakopee Aug. 6.

From 5 to 9 p.m., fire trucks, squad cars and city officials visited about 100 neighborhood parties. They handed out stress balls, Nickelodeon Universe coupons, stickers, fishing lures, and bags that help people dispose of unused prescription pills efficiently. 

The night allowed for city officials to meet with a large number of residents in a short amount of time, increasing community engagement and allowing children to meet police officers and firefighters in a casual, fun setting. 

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.

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