*This article was written by Conall Smith.
BLOOMSBURG, Pa — Block Party weekend is a long and anticipated wait for students of Bloomsburg University every spring. Students see it as a symbol of what the university is all about but local government officials see it as a major thorn in their side, especially when a fraternity made $42,000 on the event.
That $42,000 was not taxed nor reported with the Commonwealth nor the IRS which could have put that fraternity in significant legal trouble.
In an interview with current Bloomsburg mayor, Sandy Davis, and former mayor and now the university’s head of government relations, Dan Knorr; they each expressed how the event is a major obstacle for the town’s relations.
During Knorr’s tenure as mayor, his administration had tried to legitimize Block Party, in other words, make it as safe as possible for both parties.
In those years, Greek life organizations that wished to host a party for block party weekend had to apply for party permits which were required by town law for large outdoor gatherings.
After the election of Mayor Sandy Davis, Bloomsburg Town Council began looking into the legitimacy of the permits. They discovered that the permits were being sold in residential areas of the town which, according to town zoning permits, is not allowed.
Despite the good intentions behind the plan of permits, Mayor Davis had a problem with the legality of it once she stepped into office. While speaking with her in her office, she had said that one year a fraternity that was holding part of the event had sold 2,100 wristbands at $20 a piece, which equates to $42,000.
Mayor Davis puts a massive chunk of the blame on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter for bringing in individuals that have no affiliations with the town or university.
“People were coming in from states such as Maryland, New York, Delaware, Ohio, New Jersey.” Mayor Davis said. She also said that those individuals would tell police, “we’re here for Block Party” and when asked if they had a place to stay, they would reply with a clear cut “no.”
Block Party is not something that students want to put an end to nor do some business owners in town since the mass influx of people bring in a huge profit for them. But for the common good of the town and university, Block Party, whether its loved or hated, might just be something that has to be lived with.