MARINETTE - An activity that had become an annual tradition for the City of Marinette will surprisingly not be taking place this year. National Night Out is an annual nationwide event held the first Tuesday in August. The Marinette Police Department has been a longtime participant, but will not be taking part this year.

"The decision was made based on budget issues and some key personnel who will not be available this year," according to a press release provided by the Marinette Police Department.

However, the "Concert in the Park" sponsored by the Marinette Menominee Area Chamber of Commerce is still set for Aug. 6 on Stephenson Island, the release indicates.

Marinette Police Sgt. Bruce Furst, a regular participant in the annual event, was contacted Friday and asked to elaborate on why the city decided to forgo this year's National Night Out event.

Essentially, the decision boiled down to a lack of money and personnel, Furst explained.

"We actually have two different groups that organize this - we have the National Night Out Committee, and we also have the Marinette Police Department Crime Prevention Unit," he said. "But, we have some people that normally do a lot of work with that committee, and they're not available this year.

"It (National Night Out) also involves a lot of work on our part, and budget-wise we're just looking at some of the stuff, and obviously there's no money to be made here, it's a community event, so it's something that we just can't justify budget-wise and personnel-wise this year."

Furst went on to say he was hoping that this year was simply one-year hiatus from what's become one of Marinette's more popular civic events.

"We're hoping that it's just one year; we're hoping to get it back next year - but we're just missing some key personnel this year that was gonna make it very difficult to pull off," Furst said. "We've been having a hard time clinching together ourselves, on the PD side, and we're missing some key people on the National Night outside, too."

As it turned out, a significant number of key participants were simply unavailable to take part this year, according to Furst.

The sergeant added that budgets are getting tighter, not just within the MPD - but everywhere - making events like National Night Out difficult to put on when key assets - financial or personnel - are lacking.

"If it was one or the other (financial or personnel) we would have made an effort to try to work through it, but the two of them together - combined - we're just running out of time, and I just think they're going to be too difficult to deal with as a whole," Furst explained

Furst did, however, express his hope and optimism that the city's discontinuation of National Night Out would be short-lived.

"We're treating this as a temporary one-year sabbatical - we're hoping it's going to be back next year," he said.