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That's a wrap on 2017 Neighborhood Conference 
Panoramic photo of Neighborhood Luncheon

An estimated 700 people representing 75 city and county neighborhoods gathered at the Knoxville Convention Center on Saturday to exchange ideas and celebrate achievements at the 2017 Neighborhood Conference. 

Mayor Rogero welcomed the audience during the opening plenary session and challenged attendees to “make new friends and connections; teach others and learn from others; get inspired to create and sustain community in your neighborhood; and inspire others to do the same.” 

In the best way possible, attendees were threatened with information overload. More than 80 city and county agencies and area nonprofit organizations filled three adjacent ballrooms, all with representatives eager to stuff neighbors’ tote bags with pamphlets (and candy) and engage them in conversations about topics as varied as recycling unused medicine, the Knox County Public Library’s used book sale, fire-fighting, teaching gardening skills to young people, and so much more. 

Fire Dept booth at Neighborhood Conference

Muslim Community of Knoxville

Between breakfast and lunch, participants could choose from 22 break-out sessions on a variety of subjects, including: how to run for city council; how to fight blight in your neighborhood; how the City budget works; how the City and social service agencies are working to reduce homelessness; and how to save money on your utility bill. 

Highlights of the luncheon included a performance by Kelle Jolly and her blues class students. They wrote and performed a seriously catchy and upbeat blues ditty about Knoxville that may soon be our new official City Song (that’s not a thing, but maybe it should be). 

Kelle Jolly blues class

When it was time to announce the Diane Conn Good Neighbor of the Year, Mayor Rogero presented the eight nominees with certificates of appreciation while nomination committee members took turns describing the nominees’ actions and qualities. It became clear that good neighbors help one another in times of need. They look out for each other’s safety and quality of life. And they share and help enact ideas and projects to make their neighborhoods better. 

Vicki Forester, of West Haven Village in 37921, was named this year’s Good Neighbor of the Year. In recent years, Forester brought together her neighbors and other stakeholders to solve a traffic congestion issue. She helped found the West Haven Village Neighborhood Association and served as its first president. 

Mayor and Good Neighbor winner

The big finale—the door prize giveaway—elicited hoots and hollers from winners of goodies donated by Litton’s, Borderland Tees, Scruffy City Hall, Billy Lush Paddle Boats, Dazzo’s, Market House Café, Blue Coast Bar and Grill, YMCA, Glowing Body, Dragonfly Aerial Arts, and many other generous donors. 

Even participants who didn’t take home door prizes should count themselves winners for their continued efforts to make Knoxville’s neighborhoods great places to live. 
Posted by ptravis On 14 March, 2017 at 12:20 PM  

 
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