The Community Outreach team and the Leadership Team of the National Association of REALTORS® have listened to your feedback and made some significant changes to the NAR Placemaking Grants.
Starting on January 3, 2023, funding for the Level 1 Placemaking Grant will increase from $1,500 to $3,000. Funding for the Level 2 Placemaking Grant will increase from $5,000 to $7,500. The increases in funding will help to cover the rising costs of labor and materials for construction projects. In addition, the guidelines for the grant have now been expanded so that more projects will be eligible for grants. Previously, Placemaking Grants could only fund the creation of an entirely new gathering space. The Placemaking Grant now allows for the funding of new gathering spaces and the funding of community asset improvements such as street benches, lamps, and wayfinding signs, as well as improvements to existing spaces.
All state and local REALTOR® associations are eligible to apply for NAR Placemaking Grants.
So if you are interested in learning more about the grant, read on!
NAR Placemaking Grants are used to transform unused or underused sites into vibrant new gathering places. So if there is a plot of land in your community (a vacant lot, a parking lot, an alley, an underpass, etc.) that gets no use or sparse use—or is an eyesore—you can use a Placemaking Grant to help change that space into something new and welcoming like a dog park, pocket park, playground, community garden, pedestrian plaza, or a trail or trailhead. Placemaking Grants can also be used this year to add standalone amenities to existing sites, such as benches/seating, lights, and wayfinding signs. Rehabilitation projects and improvements to existing spaces are also eligible.
Key points to remember:
- The site used for the Placemaking Grant must be on public land, and it must be outdoors.
- The site must be accessible to everyone, and the site should not charge admission.
- Associations can apply for one grant per level per year. So each association can apply for one Level 1 grant and one Level 2 grant in 2023.
- Temporary projects and permanent projects are eligible, and it is also possible (and encouraged!) to convert a temporary project into a permanent project.
- New public gathering places should have at least three amenities so that people of all interests and abilities can enjoy the site. For example, a dog park will automatically have a space for dogs to run and exercise. It is helpful to include benches and landscaping (or plantings), for example, so that people without dogs can also enjoy the park. Artwork is another potential amenity that can be added to many projects.
- Public works projects like pools are not eligible. If the project is something that would typically be offered by your local Parks and Recreation department, it would likely not be eligible for a Placemaking Grant. The purpose of the grant is to create small “gems” throughout a community.
Examples of Placemaking Projects
1. Community Gardens
2. Pocket Parks
3. Dog Parks
5. Alley Activations
6. Trails and Trailheads
7. Safety and Walkability Projects
The above are some of the most common examples, and more examples can be found on the Spaces to Places blog. In addition, we are always open to new and creative ideas, and projects don’t have to be limited to what is shown here! If you have any ideas you would like to discuss, please reach out to Catherine Mesick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Placemaking Grants are also a wonderful way to boost your association’s advocacy goals. Offering to partner with local officials on a new gathering space for the benefit of the entire community can help you build long-term relationships and demonstrate the value of the REALTOR® brand. Placemaking projects can also help spur economic development—once there is one new bright spot in a community, others often follow.
How to Apply
State and local REALTOR® association staff can apply for a Level 1 or Level 2 Placemaking Grant on the REALTOR® Party’s Placemaking Grant page.
Please direct questions to PlacemakingGrants@nar.realtor or Catherine Mesick, email@example.com.