Santa Rosa's annual National Night Out celebration is moving to the Prince Memorial Greenway this year in an effort to make the area feel safer for residents.

The Tuesday event, which in previous years took place in the parking lot of Target on Santa Rosa Avenue, will send a message that the city wants to help residents push back against the graffiti, vandalism and crime that have plagued the greenway in recent years.

"The whole idea of bringing people to an area that has ongoing issues is to send a message, both from the community and to the community, that this is a place we value," said Georgia Pedgrift, the city community engagement coordinator.

In addition to giving residents a chance to take home public-safety information, the event will introduce them to two new greenway-focused programs.

The Greenway Guardians program is like a Neighborhood Watch program for the greenway, which runs for a half-mile through downtown along Santa Rosa Creek.

It encourages volunteers to create a presence on the greenway and report crimes or other problems to police or appropriate agencies. The program's logo is a character in a suit of armor wielding a rake and riding a fish.

The other program is called Greenway Cleanway and is in response to the city's inability because of lower parks staffing levels to keep up with maintenance on the greenway. The program will encourage volunteers to help with graffiti removal, trash pick-up, weed removal, sweeping and creek stewardship.

The event takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. in three locations: Prince Memorial Park, the greenway just north of Luther Burbank Elementary School, and Juilliard Park, where a barbecue will be held.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or