Residents of Woodhull Street in Brooklyn celebrated a minor victory Thursday when the city removed the padlock from a vacant lot they had cleaned up to use as a community-gathering spot.
Louie Formisano said he spent thousands of dollars cleaning up the lot, which was unused and overgrown for decades, so he and his neighbors could enjoy it.
But as NBC 4 New York reported Wednesday, the lot was then padlocked by the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
A spokesman for that agency said residents did not have permission to enter or clean the lot.
"We waited 35 years," said neighbor Mick Mauer. "We couldn't wait with the hazards that we had."
State Sen. Daniel Squadron said he is working to help residents keep access to the space.
"We're going to get this open to the community," he said.
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