So, you have finished building your project site. The hard work is done. Now is the time to really love your lot! Begin thinking ahead to the next steps. What will you do to celebrate your vacant lot project, and how will you sustain it in the long run?
Make sure to take time to celebrate the good work that you have done with your neighbors and the broader network of folks taking care of vacant lots. Here’s some ways you can do that:
- Events – If your lot has a gathering space, hold an event to celebrate the opening of your project. You could have the standard ribbon-cutting ceremony, or do something a bit more exciting, like a harvest party, a chili cook-off, or a concert with a local band. Invite everyone that’s been involved in your project, from volunteers to donors. Let nearby residents know and pass out flyers to businesses, churches, and organizations.
- Show your appreciation– Make sure to thank those who contributed to your project with their labor, materials, money, or expertise. Spread the love of your reclaimed vacant lot by giving out cut flowers or vegetables.
- Register on Lots to Love – Go to the Lots to Love map and register your project as “implemented”. Encourage friends to add comments to your lot on the map.
- Write a blog post – Want to share about your success and struggles with others? Write a blog post and we can post it on the Lots to Love website!
Begin to make a plan for how your lot will be sustained in the long-run. Mother nature is quick to take over vacant lots if they’re not regularly maintained, and the project can’t be used as easily if mother nature has taken over!
- Maintaining your project – Consider the who, when, and how of maintaining your vacant lot project. It may be difficult for you to maintain the space on your own, so make sure to find some dedicated volunteers that can be responsible for regularly caring for the space. You could have a weekly event, like a “Weeding Wednesday”, in which your supporters know they can always come lend a hand. Make sure you also have a space to store tools so that volunteers can access them on a regular basis.
- Programming- A fun way to keep your lot project lively is to hold classes, events, or activities there regularly. Form a partnership with a nearby organization, like a library, an art group, or a church, and find creative ways to use the beautiful space you’ve created. Perhaps there is a need for youth-focused programming, open-air meeting spaces, or family-friendly events. Find out what your neighbors are looking for and see how you can let your lot work for everyone.
- Signage- As your lot project becomes more established, build a sign to make it more of a destination. However, if it’s a City-owned lot, you’ll need to go through art commission to build a sign.
- Annual Event – Work with your neighbors to create a signature event for your lot to hold annually. Ask many people for help – they could provide food, music, games, activities, or sponsorship. The more people that are involved in the planning, the more people will attend. Make it an event that neighbors can look forward to every year. If your lot project is needing a bit of renewed life, use the annual event as a way of thinking about what’s next for the lot and nearby vacant lots.
- Fundraising – If you need more funding through the years, take another look at the fundraising page to think about how you will cover those costs.