BUnow News



Did Demolishing Block Party’s First Home Solve Any Problems?

BLOOMSBURG – The seven student apartment buildings that once stood beneath Lightstreet Road between the Bloomsburg Hospital and Upper Campus have been gone since July of 2003, but the memories still hold strong.

Known for its legendary parties and the former location of Bloomsburg’s annual Block Party, the student housing development known as Sesame Street had a huge reputation in and outside of Bloomsburg. The complex hosted its first Block Party in 1993 when members of the Theta Chi fraternity threw a fundraising party for the Women’s Center.

The annual fundraiser eventually gained fame for heavy drinking and impromptu mud slides. The apartments became notorious for being a party zone where students pushed past the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Dozens of arrests were made each year, including students setting fires.

The Block Party that was held in April of 2000 had nearly 5,000 people attending the Sesame Street apartments, according to news archives.

Party shut down, buildings demolished
The run came to an end after about a decade of increasingly larger gatherings. Bloomsburg filed a lawsuit in 2002 prohibiting students from holding parties within the complex.

Sesame Street’s owner, Robert Haladay, soon attempted to sell the property to Bloomsburg University’s foundation, but the deal fell through.

In an attempt to fix the problem, the Community Government Association, the university’s student government, bought the apartments in May 2003, and scheduled it for demolition. They paid $1.9 million for the Sesame Street property.

Former Bloomsburg Mayor Charles “Chip” Coffman at the time called the demolition a “historic day for the community and the university.” The community was ready for a “fresh start,” he said. At the time, CGA president Amy Hess said student leaders hadn’t decided what would be done with the property once the buildings were removed.

Honeysuckle student apartments are now located on the site.

Some outspoken against
Critics at the time also complained that the apartments themselves were not adequate housing for students to live in.

But not all of those critics supported the involvement of the university and student government. A former journalism professor at Bloomsburg, Dr. Walter Brasch, was very vocal during the time these issues were going on.

“I do not support the school’s buying of Sesame Street, disguising it as the CGA, to build Honeysuckle when Block Party was at Sesame Street,” Brasch said. “It was at least confined to an area, and by destroying Sesame Street, it forced Block Party into the community.”

As we know today, demolishing Sesame Street did not bring Block Party to an end, but instead scattered it into the downtown area.

Would Bloomsburg have been better off leaving the party at Sesame Street? Let us know what you think.

This article originally appeared on BlockPartyInsider.wordpress.com, a project for MassCommunications’ Spring 2016 Journalism Workshop. You can view all of the workshop’s work there.