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Placemaking Examples

Note:  The 2017 Placemaking grant only funds the creation of new public spaces. Some of these examples include projects from previous years when the micro-grant funded adding amenities, like benches, to existing public space. If you see an * next to the project, this is the type of project the grant will now fund.

REALTOR® Party Success Stories

*Hopkinsville, KY Goes to the Dogs with the Help of a Placemaking Grant - August 2016
On June 2, 2016, the Hopkinsville Dog Park was opened by an official ribbon cutting ceremony, with plenty of dogs in attendance, ready to romp.  It was all the idea of the 56-member Hopkinsville Christian & Todd County Association of REALTORS® and a Placemaking Micro-Grant from the REALTOR® Party helped make it a reality. MORE >

*Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS® - June 2016
Nearly 600 REALTORS® from the Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS® (WRAR) participated in its second annual REALTOR® Action Day—aka "RAD." From playing music at senior centers to planting plants and clean-up and landscaping projects, RAD was full of WRAR members working to improve their community. Nearly 100 participants built a community garden with park benches and a tool shed using a $3,000 Placemaking Micro-grant.  MORE >

*Plymouth and South Shore Association of REALTORS® Plant a Sense of Community with Garden Project - June 2016
The 2,500-member Plymouth and South Shore Association of REALTORS® (PASS) has a strong and vital charitable arm that is accustomed to giving back, but past April 16, and again on Earth Day, about 20 members couldn’t resist an opportunity to by get out in the fresh air and get their hands dirty with a community garden placemaking project.  MORE >

Small in Size, Mighty in Impact: The Greater Mason City Board of REALTORS® - April 2016
The 82-member Greater Mason City Board of REALTORS® in northern Iowa has prided itself on its community involvement, recently applying for a Placemaking Micro-grant.  To formalize its program, the association developed a Core Standards Committee and Community Outreach Task Force consisting of a handful of REALTORS® and its one-and-a-half staff members, who have ramped up the group’s already robust tradition of community service to an impressive pitch.  MORE .

*REALTOR® Association of Pioneer Valley Create a Dog Friendly Environment With a Placemaking Grant - November 2015
Despite what you've heard about teaching old dogs new tricks, the century-old REALTOR® Association of Pioneer Valley (RAPV) has taken to the REALTOR® Party's Placemaking initiative like a puppy to a fetch-stick. After learning about The REALTOR® Party’s Placemaking Grant, the 1,650-member association came up with ideas to help transform neglected public spaces into vibrant community gathering places. MORE >

Bronx-Manhattan North Association of REALTORS® Uses Placemaking to Spur Pride and Positive Engagement - November 2015
What started as two people talking about how to spend $2,200 to improve the atmosphere of a bleak urban space, resulted in a vibrant public arts project that is now valued at $50,000, attracted a visit from a Supreme Court Justice, and, most importantly, has spurred pride and positive engagement in its neighborhood.  See how a Placemaking Grant led the Bronx-Manhattan North Association of REALTORS® to partner with the Bronx Community Board 9, resulting in a beautiful piece of public art and community building.  MORE >

Springfield (MO) REALTORS® Help Restore Beloved City Park to Former Glory – and Then Some - September 2015
The 1,718-member Greater Springfield (MO) Board of REALTORS® was keen to show that they truly cared about their community.  They found that opportunity by helping to restore the city’s beloved 31-acre Phelps Grove Park after a major ice storm had damaged much of its landscape. With an NAR placemaking grant, they not only helped to bring the park back to life, but they also added a patio at the intersection of several of the park’s walking paths, enhanced by two handsome stone benches bearing the board’s name.  .Read about the Springfield Board’s successful placemaking project

Worcester (MA) REALTORS® Use Placemaking Grant to Restore Local Veterans’ Memorial Triggering a Surge of Civic Pride - April 2015
A 65-year-old granite eagle monument to honor veterans had become an eyesore from years of neglect, and the 1,500-member Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® decided to do something about it.  They put a placemaking grant from NAR to work, along with elbow grease from their members and other volunteers, to restore the monument and grounds, triggering a surge of local civic pride in the process.  Learn more about the Worcester placemaking project to restore a cherished monument.

*Merrymeeting Board (ME) Enhances New Library with Welcoming Outdoor “Reading Garden -
When the small town of Richmond, Maine rebuilt their community library, the local 213-member Merrymeeting Board of REALTORS® stepped forward with an NAR Placemaking Micro-Grant to provide a reading garden and patio to go with it. The funds were used to create a large stone patio with a stepping-stone pathway, a sturdy bench, and shrubbery to anchor the garden.  Come spring, hundreds of perennials that townspeople have donated from their own gardens will be transplanted to complete the setting.  Read more about the Merrymeeting Board’s success with a Placemaking Grant.

*Missoula REALTORS® Combine Dollars and Sweat Equity to Make an All-Abilities Playground Happen - January 2015
The 500-member Missoula Organization of REALTORS® put a placemaking grant, as well as their muscle-power, to work to bring an all-abilities playground to their city’s McCormick Park.  The NAR grant, along with funds of their own and another community grant helped to pay for the playground that features rubberized surfaces, a sensory play area, and specialized equipment like a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round.  Volunteers worked with professional contractors to build it.  Read how the Missoula REALTORS® helped to bring an all-abilities playground to their community.

Northern Kentucky REALTORS® Offer New Park Benches for Walking Trail - November 2014
After hosting a successful, yet strenuous, walk-a-thon as part of its first annual Health Fair, the 835-member Northern Kentucky Association of REALTORS® (NKAR) saw the need for some places to rest along the way.  Not a group to rest on its laurels – even after celebrating their 100-year anniversary this year—NKAR used a Placemaking Micro-Grant from NAR, along with funds of their own, to pay for two REALTOR-branded park benches along the county’s new walking/bike trail.  Read how NKAR put a placemaking grant to work for new park benches .

Michigan REALTORS®--Placemaking Pioneers--Show How a Little TLC Goes a Long Way - July 2014
After two years, the 'Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper' placemaking challenge launched by the Michigan Association of REALTORS® (MAR) is proving that little things make a big difference.  In 2012, MAR hosted "Michigan Great Places," a placemaking leadership forum run by Project for Public Spaces (PPS).  Bolstered by a Smart Growth Action Grant from NAR, the state association then challenged its local associations to devise site-specific projects to revitalize neighborhoods.  From installing walking path signage, to creating a community book exchange, to supporting a mobile garden, REALTORS across the state are putting the state’s micro placemaking grants to work.  Read about MAR’s statewide placemaking challenge.

On Common Ground

*Traverse Area Association of Realtor®:  TAAR created a unique community welcoming pocket park and trailhead rest spot.  http://www.oncommonground-digital.org/oncommonground/winter_2017_walkable_neighborhoods?pg=66#pg66

REALTORS® work to improve health and quality of life in communities across the country.  See examples of the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® playground project; Greenwood Association of REALTORS® Realtor® trail; Cedar Rapids Area Association of REALTORS® fitness zone; and Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS ® community garden. https://www.nar.realtor/articles/realtors-take-action-2

Spaces to Places Blog

* REALTORS® Bring an Island its First Park
 Building a new (and only) park on a small island served to greatly extend our outreach and overall goals and provided opportunities for our members to volunteer and give back to their communities.

Pioneer Valley REALTORS® Engage in their Communities
The REALTOR® Association of Pioneer Valley has taken advantage of NAR’s Placemaking Grant and in the past two years was involved in 4 placemaking projects to help enhance their communities by creating new public spaces for residents.  Here are two of those projects.

Books Around the Block in St. Paul.  Little Free Libraries have been popping up all over!  The “take a book, leave a book” movement promotes literacy, recycling and placemaking efforts.  REALTORS® from the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS® (SPAAR) seized this opportunity to enhance placemaking efforts in the Saint Paul area.

*Uninviting Space to Welcoming Community Gathering Place. What was once a run-down, uninviting and unused space is now a beautiful, new pocket park in downtown Fairfield (CT).  The park, which is surrounded by a residential area, is now being enjoyed by its neighbors who are meeting there and walking or jogging through the park.

YPN Members Rock the Block in Rockford. The Rockford Area REALTORS® Young Professional Network (YPN) has made a commitment for the past two years to take on a community beautification project that would benefit the citizens of Rockford.

Turning an Eyesore into a Welcoming Kid-Friendly Place to Play. Lincoln Park is located in the borough of Frackville in Schuylkill County, PA.  It had fallen into a state of disrepair. The fencing was falling apart, wood on the site was disintegrating and the sliding board was damaged by a car running into it. In short, the park was an eyesore. The Schuylkill County Board of REALTORS® wanted to be part of a solution to turn things around.

REALTORS® Rescue a Garden on Their Way to Revitalizing a Neighborhood. Everyone needs to hold a belief that tomorrow brings promise and hope.  That was the case when the Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association and its charitable arm, the Housing Opportunity Foundation, undertook a project in the historic African-American Druid Hills community in Charlotte, N.C.

*Pocket Park – Big Mission!. A pocket park may be just the right placemaking project to add some fun and vibrancy to your downtown.  This newly created pocket park was funded in part with an NAR Placemaking Micro-grant to the Paducah Board of REALTORS®.

Young Professionals Engage in Placemaking. Every year, the West Volusia Association of REALTORS’ Young Professionals Network (YPN) gives back to their community by supporting local organizations through volunteering. This year, YPN decided to get involved in a big way and participated in a joint project between the city and local organizations to rebuild and restore one of Deland’s iconic spaces, Freedom Playground.

*A New Place for Pooches in Cape Cod. As a dog owner and Cape Cod resident, I was very happy that CCIAOR and the Young Professionals Network (YPN) Committee used  NAR’s Placemaking Micro-Grant toward the Town of Yarmouth’ s new Dog Park.

*Empty Lot to a Place to Gather. In the last couple of years, the Realtors® Commercial Alliance of the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast (RCA), which is the commercial division of the Realtors® Association of the Palm Beaches (RAPB) has focused on providing our members with volunteer opportunities throughout Southeast Florida. Upon learning of NAR Placemaking Micro-grant, we decided that we would like to participate in a placemaking project by helping to build a community garden.

*Finding the Right Spot for a Community Garden. The Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS® (WRAR) is partnering with the Wilmington Housing Authority, Wilmington Green, a local non-profit, and the Interfaith Refugee Ministry to launch a project to create a sustainable model for creating community gardens in the Wilmington-area.

Timing is Every Thing. NAR’s Placemaking Micro-grant could not have come at a better time.  Last September, Kathy Zamechansky was sworn in as the 57th President to lead BMNAR’s Board of Governors.  At her first Executive Board meeting, Kathy emphasized working more with the community and building on the Borough President’s theme of “The New Bronx” by taking something old and making it new.

*REALTORS® in Action: Alley to Pedestrian Walkway Transformation.  Fortville Action Inc., a volunteer run organization aimed at strengthening and promoting Fortville, Indiana, worked with the town to close off an alleyway from vehicular traffic in order to transform the space into a pedestrian friendly walkway and destination in the heart of downtown.

*The Power of Collaboration in a Rural Town. The residents of Richmond, Maine, with a population of just over 3,000, came together last summer and fall to build a new Community Library.  Set on the site of the Richmond’s very old library, which was demolished, the town reached out to its citizens with a proposal to use volunteer labor and donated materials to build the library.

The Art of Sitting: Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper in Action.  The Kankakee-Iroquois-Ford Association of REALTORS® (KIFAR) used an NAR Placemaking Grant to build and design benches for our local Farmer’s Market in downtown Kankakee.  The Farmer’s Market is a wonderful gathering place during the spring, summer and fall, but there was never much seating and folks were not able to sit, relax, chat and interact with their friends and neighbors.  And some residents were not even able to come since seating was not available.

Lighter Quicker Cheaper Challenge: Build it and the Ideas will Come. Perhaps you’ve been following the success of other local associations’ placemaking projects and you’re ready to launch one at your board. There’s just one question – where do you come up with a placemaking idea? How do you convince your board to add “another” new program when members and staff alike are increasingly busy?

Before and After – Part 7

The Before and After – Part 6

The Before and After – Part 5

The Before and After – Part 4

The Before and After – Part 3

The Before and After – Part 2

The Before and After


*Northwest Oklahoma Association of Realtors® Pocket Park project.   NWOAR partnered with Main Street Enid to create a great space for the community to gather, meet and play.

*Southwest Indiana Association of REALTORS® Parklet Project.  News coverage.

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