LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

The mayor is beginning a new tradition in La Crosse with the city's first Neighborhood Conference. The event is an opportunity for residents to come learn how they can help make their community a better place to live.

 The conference today was titled "Creating Safe Community." Presentations from the La Crosse Police Department, Couleecap and a speaker from Viterbo University all offered different ways for neighborhoods in La Crosse to become safer and stronger.

Mayor Tim Kabat invited his La Crosse neighbors to the first Neighborhood Conference to learn how to make their hometown a better place to live.

"I think it's really critical, especially with as many neighbor associations and groups that we have to be able to support those grassroots efforts, to offer some education and opportunities for them to be able to become better organizations," Kabat said.

Kabat said he would like to see stronger associations so the city can offer more funding to neighborhoods.

"Ultimately we would like to work our capital budget and other programs at that neighborhood level. So therefore you really need to have strong neighborhood organizations at the neighborhood level," Kabat said.

One way Kabat wants to strengthen neighborhoods is by making them safer. So he asked the La Crosse Police Department to share some ideas.

"Through maybe cutting their bushes down, improved lighting," Lt. Pat Hogan of the La Crosse Police Department, said. 

The La Crosse police said those ideas all begin with community members.

"The community is the eyes and ears of the Police Department and what they see and hear, getting that information back to us to make it a safer community," Hogan said.

Kabat says he was pleased with the turnout today and would like to host the event each year.