If you want to know how to do everything from writing a neighborhood grant to navigating deed restrictions, you'll want to attend this year's Hillsborough County Neighborhoods Conference.
The event, hosted by the county's Office of Neighborhood Relations, is 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 29.
"I love it because it's community oriented,'' said Carlton Lewis, a Town 'N Country civic activist. "It's one of the most important things government does.''
This is the conference's fifth year. It is being held at Hillsborough Community College's Dale Mabry Highway campus. The event includes 24 workshops aimed at building stronger neighborhoods.
"It's a way for people to make connections with different associations and for leaders to network with each other,'' said Wanda Sloan, conference chairwoman. "We'll have exhibits and booths where they can meet with officials from government and from business.''
As many as 500 people have attended the conference in previous years. They have come looking for ways to do everything from hiring a property manager to finding a mediator for debt collection.
"We've had booths for hurricane preparedness to education on Florida-friendly plants,'' Sloan said. "There is a different display for every table you go to.''
The daylong event costs $12 if you register by today. Otherwise, the cost is $15. The entry fee includes breakfast and an awards luncheon.
This also will be the first year Shelly Blood, who led the county's Office of Neighborhood Relations, will not be attending. Blood retired from Hillsborough County this month.
"The department is staying the same, to serve the neighborhoods,'' Sloan said. "We'll be under a new umbrella, but we'll still be doing the same thing.''
Jackie Ripley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (813) 269-5308.