Como group receives grant to curb parties, underage drinking

Robyn Repya

Though the chilling fist of winter has yet to firmly clinch the Twin Cities, permanent residents in the Como neighborhood are already thinking ahead to the spring, anticipating an increase in parties.

The Southeast Como Improvement Association has just acquired more resources to help continue their work to curb parties.

The association was awarded a $5,000 grant Monday from Minnesota Join Together, a statewide coalition dedicated to lowering underage drinking.

Jeff Nachbar, MJT program director, said he understands the Como residents’ concerns.

“Clearly off-campus chronic party houses lead to problems in the neighborhood,” he said.

Nachbar said he was very familiar with the party issues facing the neighborhood because he worked in the community’s crime-prevention precinct a few years ago.

He said the association, like MJT, looks to focus on who’s supplying underage people with alcohol.

Bob Klein, a senior in the architecture department, said parties are the social fabric of such a large urban college campus, and people should not be punished for having fun. “Kids want to be crazy and get drunk,” he said.

Suzie Overlie, SECIA’s neighborhood coordinator, said the group will use the grant money for a variety of things.

She said a portion of the funds will be used to subsidize the party patrol police the association hired this fall.

Overlie said the rest of the money will be used for direct mailing and flyers in an attempt to educate the public on their rights and responsibilities as members of the community.

She also said these initiatives to combat parties and underage drinking are short-term solutions.

“In the long-term people will work their council person to help fund the program,” Overlie said.

Klein said a better focus of community efforts would be on drinking and driving as opposed to parties. He also said programs to curb underage drinking and stop parties are pointless.

“It’s a natural tendency for people to start drinking Ö that’s what you do in college,” he said.

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