Concept: Bike & Skate Park

Work with teenagers to transform a vacant lot in their neighborhood into a safe place for them and their friends. Helping to build their own space provides young people valuable skills in carpentry, landscaping, project management and community organizing. 

Be sure that your neighbors are on board.  Some residents will not consider a teen space as a benefit.  Always consider liability.  Post a sign listing your expectations of how the space can be used, and post it in multiple languages. Post the hours when people are welcome and lock the gate after those hours

 

DON’T FORGET the fencing! Nearby resident will feel better knowing the space is securely defined.

 

Talk to a lawyer before charging people for use, it may change your liability, but it may be worth renting the park out for private birthday and graduation gatherings.  You may even find someone who wants to teach skateboarding or operate tournaments.  

Resources:

 

Concept: Kid Play Spaces

Create a spot for kids to play and have fun, exercise their bodies and expand their minds through play, communication, and friendship. Small playgrounds provide healthy options outside the home where children learn necessary social skills, while parents also build bonds of friendship with their neighbors.

You can find beautiful examples of simple re-purposed materials turned into vibrant play structures.  Toddlers love a grassy hill to run up and roll down. Many structured play ground products are available if you have the funding.  Provide a water source for sprinklers but avoid any pools, the liability there is just not worth it.

DON’T FORGET the fencing! Parent can relax when they know that kids will not escape into the street or the next yard.

Always consider liability.  Post a sign listing your expectations of how children must be supervised, and post it in multiple languages. Post the hours when people are welcome and lock the gate after those hours

Talk to a lawyer before charging people for use, it may change your liability, but it may be worth renting the park out for daycare, private birthday, Halloween and baby shower events.  You may even find someone who wants to teach parenting or child nutrition classes.   

Resources:

 

Concept: Dog Parks

Our dogs need recreation too.  Small dog parks allow people to socialize while their dogs romp. Benches for humans help neighbors become friends. 

You can add agility structures out of repurposed or purchased materials.  Lawns can get muddy and worn from dogs running. Try a variety of materials like bark chips or pea stone. And don’t forget water, for drinking and for splashing.  Dogs love kiddie pools as much as kiddies do.   

 

Fencing is a must! Dog parents can relax when they know that pups will not escape into the street or the next yard.

Always consider liability.  Post a sign listing your expectations of how animals must be supervised and post it in multiple languages. Post the hours when people are welcome and lock the gate after those hours

Talk to a lawyer before charging people for use, it may change your liability, but it may be worth renting the park out for doggie daycare, and birthday events.  You may even find someone who wants a space to teach agility, obedience or grooming.   

Resources:

Organizations:

 

https://www.albanyny.gov

 

https://www.albanycountylandbank.org/

Grants:

 

The Awesome Foundation: http://awesomefoundation.org/

 

Concept: Private Side Yard

Your home is your castle. Don't tolerate a trash lot next door, own it. If all you do is clear it and plant grass you'll have increased the value of your home, and others nearby.  Attend the annual Capital District Garden Show, visit the landscape section of your library, or surf the internet for fun ideas.  Maybe a play structure for the kids, a grape arbor, a raised bed garden for fresh veggies, drying flowers for your wreath business, a nice big wood deck in the sunshine with a new door into the dining room for easy entertaining, the possibilities are endless.

If you think you can also have parking spaces, think twice.  Parking takes up a lot more space than you think and the city does not like to cut new driveways across sidewalks. It may be possible but it’s often a squeeze and you’ll have to jump through more hoops for approvals.  Start small and enjoy the yard for a while before you make big investments.

Think about fencing. Install lights that shine down into your yard and not into your neighbors windows. Take the opportunity to install rain barrels from your roof and rain gardens to catch slope run off before it hits the sidewalk and ices up.

If you are the landlord instead of occupant, a better environment is going to attract better tenants with a possibility of better rent.

Resources:

Concept: Adult Park

Adults need outdoor space to gather and relax too!  Especially in dense neighborhoods with multi apartment buildings. Gather a group and decide together what is needed; a pergola for shade, a bocci court, a flat lawn for yoga.  Shade will be important so trees and gazebo’s will be popular.

 

Always consider liability.  Post a sign listing your expectations of how the space can be used and post it in multiple languages. Remember, fences make good neighbors. Post the hours when people are welcome and lock the gate after those hours.

 

Talk to a lawyer before charging people for use, it may change your liability, but it may be worth renting the park out for private gatherings.  It’s not hard to find someone who wants to teach yoga.  You can grow a cutting garden and sell bouquets to local restaurants or markets.

Resources:

 

Concept: Art/Urban Nature Park

Many artists will find a vacant lot to be a wonderful canvas for their work, like their own private outdoor gallery. There are sculptors who work with natural materials like topiary, driftwood, welding and ceramic mosaic.  There are mural painters who will take advantage of those big side walls. There are groups of artists who seek out door gallery space and/or studio space. 

If you are not an artist but welcome the creative energy, manage your lot like a gallery and invite artists to show their work.  Host art openings.  You'll want a shade structure but plenty of artwork can handle the elements.  

Always consider liability.  Post a sign listing your expectations of how the space can be used and post it in multiple languages. Remember, fences make good neighbors. Post the hours when people are welcome and lock the gate after those hours.

 

Talk to a lawyer before charging artists to use the space, it may change your liability, but it may be worth renting the gallery out for private gatherings.  Many artists want to teach others they're skills.  

Resources: