History Cruzers offer help during summer event
Before car collectors and admirers swarm along East Seventh Avenue this summer, members of the North St. Paul History Cruzers want to make sure those who live in the area year-round are heard and helped.
The nonprofit group and North St. Paul city staff are hosting a community meeting from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, in the Victorian Room of K&J Catering, 2546 E. Seventh Ave.
They hope to hear any comments or concerns related to the North St. Paul History Cruze Car Show, which usually draws more than 1,000 classic vehicles and many more attendees on Friday evenings in the summer.
This year, the Cruze starts June 6 and runs through Sept. 19.
John Pontrelli, who started the event in the 1990s, said the History Cruzers started hosting meetings several years ago, because a few people in the community said they felt unheard.
“If they have any concerns, we’d like to address them prior to the show starting,” said Pontrelli, a former North St. Paul city council member. “We really want them to know that their concerns are our concerns, also.”
Members of the History Cruzers are also offering to help their neighbors during the event.
One Friday night, Pontrelli said that they placed cones in front of a woman’s house in order to block off parking for her visitors.
“We’ve done things like that in the past,” he said. “Quite often, we’ll send notifications out to as many car people as we can, (telling them) to be conscientious of the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Bruce Fabio, who books the vendors and bands along with his wife, Sandy, said the group has to work well with the city and the North St. Paul City Council to make the event happen each year.
The History Cruzers pays to have an extra police presence in the downtown area, street cleaning and trash clean- up for the car show, according to Fabio.
The organization must also communicate with area merchants, who, Fabio said, benefit greatly from the extra traffic the show draws.
The car show attracts lots of potential customers into downtown stores, according to Del Howard, the owner of La’ Garage and Gallery along with his wife, Carolyn. The Howards are also part of the History Cruzers and have sponsored a day during the car show.
“It’s not just good for our business; it’s good for the town,” Del Howard said. “The traffic increased significantly (in our store). I’m not going to say that everybody that’s coming in is buying something, but we’re planting seeds.”
Howard said that he’s attended annual meetings when the History Cruzers members discuss what went well and what could be changed.
He said the community meetings help keep the “negatives” to a minimum.
“We work really closely with the community,” Howard said. “That’s an important part of this when you’re putting on something that’s grown as this has.”
For more information, contact North St. Paul History Cruzers members John Pontrelli (612-801-8107), Bruce Fabio (651-779-2315), or Paul Houliston (651-210-9645), or North St. Paul City Hall (651-747-2400).
Kaitlyn Roby can be reached at 651-748-7814 and firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her at twitter.com/KRobyNews.