Allison Blankenship

Neighborhood Specialist Allison Blankenship

Registration opened this week for a new event that aims to bring together neighborhoods and residents to meet and learn more about the inner-workings of city government. 

Registration for the Auburn Neighborhood Conference, set for Aug. 21 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Harris Center and Frank Brown Recreation Center, opened on Tuesday. Space is limited and preregistration is required. Registration closes on Aug. 10.

The conference is open to any resident who is interested about the quality of life in Auburn’s neighborhoods, said Neighborhood Specialist Allison Blankenship. 

“We want people to be able to walk way having learned something and feeling empowered for what they can do within their communities and their neighborhoods and their properties to improve the quality of life and better Auburn as a whole,” she said. “The work sessions go in deep on certain departments and certain topics, and I think people will discover some things that we do that they didn’t know we do.” 

City Manager Megan McGown Crouch will kick off the conference with a talk about the city’s council-manager form of government. 

That will be followed by a series of work sessions, with participants choosing which three they would like to attend. The sessions will start at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.

The work sessions will cover areas like the Community Services Department, Auburn Police Division, the Public Works Department, Environmental Services Department, and include a session that looks at how stormwater impacts local water quality. 

“They will give people an in-depth look at what some of our departments do and how residents can work together with the city in different ways,” said Blankenship, who also emphasized how much the conference has been a team effort put together by city staff. There will also be a work session led by Lindsey Smith and Jennifer Delmore, HOA board members for the Cotswolds and The Oaks, respectively. 

“Some of (the HOAs) struggle to get their residents engaged and involved with neighborhood activities or volunteer positions, so I’ve got two board members coming in to talk about what they’ve done in their neighborhoods for that engagement and involvement,” said Blankenship. 

Lunch will be provided at 12:30 p.m. and feature keynote speakers Kristen Reeder, Human Resources director for the city, and Rene Waldrop, director of Our House.

To register for the conference and the work sessions, go to www.auburnalabama.org/office-of-the-city-manager/neighborhoods/neighborhood-conference/. 

“I also hope they feel more connected to city staff,” said Blankenship. “For some, the work session content may be the start of a larger conversation, and we hope people feel comfortable reaching out to us.”

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