The Regional Neighborhood Network Conference annually brings together 400 to 500 representatives of neighborhoods in 20 cities scattered across five states, including Ohio.

The Regional Neighborhood Network Conference annually brings together 400 to 500 representatives of neighborhoods in 20 cities scattered across five states, including Ohio.

The conference, which this year will be held Oct. 7-9 in Dayton, focuses on leadership, neighborhood development and ways in which different people in different cities are dealing with some of the same problems and issues.

A hyper local version of the RNNC is being planned for representatives of Columbus neighborhoods on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Dave Paul, president of the Northland Community Council, is serving on the logistics committee for the Neighborhood Best Practices Conference.

"It is intended to kind of be a mini-version of that, in the sense that we're inviting various folks to come speak about things they've done in their neighborhood that helped and seemed to work," Paul said.

The conference is being convened by the United Way of Central Ohio and the city's Community Relations Commission.

Sharon L. Ware of the United Way said the idea for the Oct. 2 gathering at the new Columbus Downtown High School, 364 S. Fourth St., grew out of conversations she had with Paul and others about people from different parts of Columbus can share the ways in which they solve problems.

"I think it got to the point where we said why don't we try it?" Ware said.

A committee was formed to explore the idea back in April, according to Paul. Early on, Ware said, Columbus City Schools officials offered Downtown High School as a meeting venue.

"That was 90 percent of making our decision," Ware said.

Getting people from various neighborhoods together might help re-energize those who give a lot of their own time to involvement in civic associations and similar organizations, the United Way official said.

"I think neighborhood groups, especially if they're long-term, kind of fizzle out, get tired, especially if they're not able to engage new members," Ware said.

Various regional and even national conferences exist for this purpose, she added.

"But not here for our own central Ohio community," Ware said.

"We Make It Happen, You Can, Too!" is the theme for the conference, which is being funded by a grant from the Macy's Foundation.

"I think it's kind of cool," Paul said. "I'm kind of excited, and I think it has some potential.

"I do think there are some significant differences, for example, between the way folks in Driving Park handle the issues there that really need to get attention, in the ways of motivating people and contacting people, compared with some other parts of the city. Door-to-door diplomacy is more effective in small neighborhoods where you can get out and pretty much canvas the street, than you can at the Northland Community Council level."

The workshops that will take place at the Neighborhood Best Practices Conference are still being planned, but Ware indicated the Macy's grant will help pay for one aimed at young people, focusing on the positive things many of them are doing in the community.

"One of the things that we were just adamant bout as a committee was that we engage our youth," Ware said.

"This is a showcase of how central Ohio neighborhoods addressed and solve community problems," according to a flyer for the event. "The Neighborhood Best Practices Conference goals are to strengthen, promote productive communication and collaboration between neighborhood groups, community partners and local government. It is also an opportunity for the community leaders of various backgrounds to discuss neighborhood best practices, current trends and, most critically, to network with other neighborhoods."

"The issues they have are different," Paul said. "The geography is different. The age of the communities is different. So there are some differences, but having said all that I think there are a lot of common threads and things that we can share with Driving Park and the West Side and the University District."

The conference could help, Paul said, in "tying neighborhoods together and helping them talk more between one another."

For more information, call Ware at 241-3071 or Karen Mitchell of the Community Relations Commission, 645-1993.