You will likely need neighborhood support for your street improvement project, even if it’s simply agreement from your next-door neighbors for a small planting project. Here are some tips for engaging your neighbors:

  1. Some permits may require the written support of your neighbors. It is better to do too much outreach than not enough. People may oppose a project if they don’t feel like they’ve been included in the process.
  1. Make a list of people and groups to contact. This may include people who live on the street, merchants, neighborhood associations, and other institutions. If you aren’t familiar with local neighborhood groups, ask your Supervisor’s office for a list.
  1. Go door-to-door to residents and businesses, choosing times that will be good for them (e.g. not dinner time or peak store hours). At businesses, always ask to talk to the owner or manager, and arrange a good time to return if they are unavailable. Ask to make a presentation to your neighborhood group board.
  1. Make a basic fact sheet about the project to hand out. Include your contact information. If your project is especially large or complicated, consider creating a website with the latest news and details of the project. Be prepared for possible opposition by including information that might address and quell concerns. This might include creating a plan for on-going maintenance of the project.
  1. If your project is large and involves design work, invite people to a design workshop. If you need a designer and do not have the resources to hire someone, see Funding and Technical Resources.
  1. Get letters of support from people who like your project. Draft a sample to make it as easy as possible. Be sure to ask your Supervisor for a letter. Letters tend to be much more persuasive than petitions.
  1. If your project will be heard in a public hearing, ask key supporters to speak on behalf of the project. Give them talking points.
  1. Keep your neighbors up to date on the project process.
  1. Invite your neighbors to the opening and be sure to thank any and everyone who was involved.
  1. Ask for feedback after the project is in the ground. If your project can be changed at this point, consider using neighbor feedback to do so.
  1. Make sure that you follow-up on all your promises and keep the community involved.
  1. Enjoy! Street improvement projects are excellent ways to get to know your neighbors and surrounding community.

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