During the two days of meetings, the City of Louisville proposed the creation of a new organization called the Regional Neighborhood Network. It was to have no dues, no officers, no formal structure, and be non-partisan. Representatives at the table came from both Democratic and Republican administrations. The focus was the commonality among us—our interest in seeing the neighborhoods strengthened as opposed to who was in office.
We also felt that by keeping the structure simple we could escape getting bogged down in unnecessary bureaucracy. The government reps fully embraced this idea because all wanted/need colleagues in our field and could call and say, “have you all dealt with…?” It was further decided that the best way to enable the long standing and emerging neighborhood leaders to develop their skills was to put them in a common environment once a year. From that one joint activity, the Regional Neighborhood Network was birthed and the Regional Neighborhood Network Conference (RNNC) was developed. All the original cities pledged they would do everything in their power to keep the conference affordable. Some cities paid the registration for neighborhood leaders. Some paid for meals that weren’t covered. Some debriefed when they returned to their home cities to determine lessons learned.