Neighborhood conference brings new ideas to Peoria

By Alyssa Donovan

September 20, 2013 Updated Sep 20, 2013 at 8:41 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill.-- The Regional Neighborhood Network Conference gives city leaders from across the Midwest the opportunity to collaborate on how to improve their communities. The exchange has already changed how Peoria handles and reacts to crime.

The Regional Neighborhood network conference brought more than 300 community leaders from 31 cities to Peoria.

The 27th annual conference gives city officials a chance to hear about projects, ordinances and neighborhood initiative that work in other cities.

At-large Peoria Councilman Ryan Spain said, "It's a lot of different issues. Practical grassroots activities you can do, how to build neighborhood organizations, how to create neighborhood improvement projects and beautification."

At-Large Peoria Councilman Eric Turner says a large focus of the conference is how to cut back on crime in neighborhoods.

Turner said, "We've got police officials here from Columbus Ohio and what they are talking about in that is what works for their community. They are a lot larger community a lot more crime and so we have officers sitting in there figuring out what's going on and what kind of things we can do here to improve things."

Turner says many ideas from past conferences have been implemented in Peoria like the weed and seed program, signs about upkeep in the neighborhoods and several ordinances.

A lot of great ideas come from these conferences but one you may recognize is the Peoria Police Armadillo.

Officer Anthony Allen from the Peoria Police Department said, "It just kind of snowballed from there. It's worked very well from the stand point that I've deployed one or two of them numerous times and they have had the desired affect."

The Peoria Police department shared their success with the Armadillo or Nuisance Abatement Vehicle at the conference as well as the progress that has been made with the help of the Don't Shoot Program.

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