Empty lot solution: add a stage ?

Your downtown has an empty lot, right? Or a park where there used to be an empty lot?  

I hear about a lot of towns turning old empty lots into small mini-parks or pocket parks. Sometimes, they put in a stage. There’s a tiny one with a tiny stage in my hometown of Alva, Oklahoma, squeezed in between the library and the senior citizens center. There’s a huge one with a big stage in Deb Brown’s town Webster City, Iowa, that fills a bunch of lots on a corner.

While having a stage and a park-like area around it is better than an empty lot, it’s not much better if no one ever uses it.

So how do you get people to use the stage?  

Start by recruiting anyone who gives lessons in your town. Encourage them to use the stage for student performances. 

  • music lessons
  • voice lessons
  • dance lessons
  • drama lessons
  • writing lessons (read out loud!) 
  • summer student activities
  • who else gives lessons? 

You’re training people to put on events there, attend events there, and to remember that the stage is there and available. Like any training project, it takes time and repetition. So you’ll have to get the word out over and over. But start with people who give lessons. They’re the easy first target. 

Those formerly empty lots in Webster City were used for a big downtown concert for the community one June evening this year. 

This is just one of the empty lot ideas that Deb Brown and I will be sharing on Tuesday evening. We’re doing a live stream workshop called Filling the Downtown Gaps. We’ll talk about empty lots and partially-collapsed buildings and how you can do something useful with them. 

Filling the Downtown Gaps will cost US$20. It will be live on Tuesday July 12 at 6pm Central Daylight Time. The recording will be available from July 13-July 26 only. Once you’re registered, you can schedule more than one viewing during the two week window so you reach as many people as possible.

Keep shaping the future of your town, 

PS –  Our live stream workshops are not like webinars you’ve sat through in the past. You see our faces. We connect with you personally. We give you a downloadable handout instead of boring slides, and we focus on real-world examples, not statistics. Your downloadable handout will have photos, more info and links for all the examples. We wrap up the presentation within one hour, then we stay late to answer your questions. And we take questions by email after the live event during the two weeks the replay is available.