by Michael R. Allen
This Monday, the Chautauqua Art Lab started its second day with a Public Reclamation Picnic organized by Kara Clark Holland, who has a series of these events. The idea is simple and amazing: transforming an underutilized space into part of the public realm through joyful activity.
Monday’s location was the vacant lot at the northwest corner of North 14th Street and Cass Avenues in St. Louis Place. The parcel is owned by the Land Reutilization Authority and adjacent to a building owned by Northside Regeneration LLC.
Perhaps LRA should consider picnic fees as a revenue stream, as with its garden lease program. In some neighborhoods, vacant lots are closer than parks and offer large grassy areas for spreading out. With permanent uses likely years out, these lots can be utilized by the community today through picnics, gardening, sports and other short-term uses.