Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Bike-Centered Placemaking Project Makes a Wheel Difference

The city of DeBary is home to the bicycle hub for the state of Florida, and the West Volusia Association of REALTORS® (WVAR) had the perfect placemaking project to help the community make the most of the local bike trails.

With DeBary's new Main Street Community Plan spurring new construction and growth, there have been many citizens who have vocalized their need for transportation alternatives. DeBary is home to one of the area's SunRail commuter train stations, but the inner-community cycling trails are becoming more popular for locals and others across the state. The city felt the association could best help them by aiding with a safer transportation option: biking. After many discussions with the city of DeBary's staff and leadership and input from our local Young Professionals Network, WVAR proposed and designed a pocket park near a central location where many of the city’s bike trails meet, with a bike repair station, a sitting area, and a bike rack.

The total cost of the project was $10,000. Utilizing a $5,000 Placemaking Grant from the National Association of REALTORS®, WVAR was able to contribute a bike repair station. Local businesses donated tables and benches, as well as plantings to the project.

Once completed, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on the morning of January 6, 2023, with the DeBary Mayor, city council members, city manager, parks and recreation director, and the WVAR leadership and YPN members all in attendance. Everyone was so pleased to see that during the ribbon cutting, there were already cyclists stopping by to check out the new bike repair station.

The city council tells WVAR that they have had a lot of great feedback from cyclists. The placemaking project is situated on a state-long cycling path and will greatly help continue promoting the trail’s use.

Members had a great time working with the city of DeBary, county, and parks and recreation departments. Biking trails and walkability are a large part of the DeBary vision, and as a REALTOR® association, it is our job to help make the communities thrive.

This was a fantastic project to work on with the local government and YPN team. WVAR will definitely be looking into doing more community grant projects with NAR and is pleased that local governments are now calling the association, rather than the other way around.


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.