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I'm about to call a city agency -- what do I say?

Your first call to a city agency that owns land in your neighborhood is to find out their plans for it and the timeline for those plans. You'll have time to convince the agency about your awesome ideas later -- your first task is to get as much information as possible. 

You'll need the identifying information about the lot you are interested in handy - the Block and Lot number is crucial; the address, if the lot has one, is also nice.

The map on the main page of our site gives you contact information for the person for each piece of vacant public land who we think has the ability to tell you it's status and give you permission to use it. Sometimes our sleuthing is off -- or sometimes people change jobs. When you call, start by asking if they are the person you should speak to about a vacant property in North/South Brooklyn. If they're not, ask who is (and remember to tell 596 Acres!).

If they are, tell them you are calling from a neighborhood organization. Describe the lot, how long it's been empty. Give the Block and Lot number and maybe the address. 

Say your group is interested in getting permission to do a temporary project/garden/playground/movie theater/farm/free school/etc. on that site. Emphasize that you realize the agency has plans for the site that will eventually be implemented -- your group just wants to use it this year/ this season/ until the plans are solidified. 

Ask if such an interim use plan would be compatible with the agency's timeline for the "real" plan. Say you would like to sign a license agreement that would be revocable at any time.

Make sure you get the email of the person who you are talking to. Follow up with a note and copy organizers@596acres.org. We can help you negotiate the licence. 

We would also love to get a note from you describing what you learned on the phone -- add your Note to the page for the lot you are calling about so that we can all learn from your experience. 

 

Once you've made the call -- report back!

Write a NOTE on the lot's page so that we're all in the loop, then have a meeting with your neighbors to plan next steps. Here's a flier template that you can use!

 

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