Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Art-based Alley Activation Honors Monroe City History

A “Rail & Ponies” mural is the centerpiece of the Mark Twain Association of REALTORS®’ placemaking project.

In October 2022, the Mark Twain Association of REALTORS® (MTAR) completed a railway-themed alley activation to celebrate the history of Monroe City, Missouri, and to jumpstart growth in the city’s downtown area. The heart of the activation is the “Rail & Ponies” mural which depicts the city’s growth from “Queen of the Prairie” in 1860 to modern-day Monroe City—a transformation that was made possible by the arrival of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad. The alley activation includes greenery and seating to create a brand-new gathering place in a formerly unused site. MTAR sees this placemaking project as just the beginning. “The alley activation will be our first walkability project to lay the path for other future plans to grow our developing main street,” says MTAR President Debbie Kendrick.

The railway alley activation will be formally dedicated on Dec. 3, 2022, at the Christmas Street Stroll Event for Downtown Monroe City Revitalization (DTMC), a Missouri Main Street Not-For-Profit Corporation. 

It was through the generosity of MTAR, the National Association of REALTORS®’ REALTOR® Party Placemaking Grant, donations from many of our community members, and endless fundraising efforts by DTMC that we have reached our point of completion.

Both DTMC and MTAR are humbled that an organization as large as NAR and the Missouri REALTORS® can have such a lasting effect on our rural communities. Turning “places” into “spaces” is a goal for all Main Street Organizations, which work to enhance the community’s culture, beauty, and vitality.

MTAR has been blessed multiple times with grants from the NAR REALTOR® Party grant programs and the Missouri REALTORS®: From political signs for one of our members to run for school board in her local community; to funds to produce a Mayoral & Senatorial Forum; to marketing funds for three bond issues for school districts within our association’s jurisdiction. And now we have two successful placemaking grants. We are thankful and humbled.

REALTORS®, doing the right thing, the unexpected and loving our neighborhoods into the future: That’s Who We R.


Community Outreach Programs

Housing Opportunity Grant
Housing Opportunity Grants support state and local REALTOR® Associations’ affordable housing activities. The goal of the program is to position REALTORS® as leaders in improving their communities by creating affordable housing

Smart Growth Grant
Smart growth is an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, development within existing neighborhoods, and community engagement. The Smart Growth Program offers state and local REALTOR® Associations to way to engage with government officials, community partners and the general public in planning and designing community’s future.

Planned diversity initiatives makes good business sense. REALTOR® Associations with well-planned diversity programs create a stronger sense of community, particularly in neighborhoods with high concentrations of foreign-born and minority residents who are moving up the socioeconomic ladder and are buying homes.

NAR Placemaking Resources

Placemaking Guide: A Guide to Transform a Public Space into a Community Place
REALTORS® and state and local association staff can learn the details of Placemaking, the kinds of projects placemaking entails, how to organize them, and where to go for assistance and resources.

Placemaking Webinar Series
Our Placemaking Webinar Series will provide more in depth information on the various types of Placemaking and how REALTORS® were involved in Placemaking activities in their communities.

Placemaking Grant
The Placemaking Grant funds the creation of new public spaces, like pocket parks, trails & gardens, in a community. The grant focuses on “lighter, cheaper, quicker” placemaking projects, which can be built under a year and cost less  than $200,000.

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Smart Growth

The healthier a community, the better the environment for REALTORS®. Keeping a community attractive, livable and functioning well is a complex task.