In 2018, the Mountains to Shore Board of REALTORS® was awarded a $5,000 Placemaking Grant by the National Association of REALTORS® to assist in the construction of the Graziano Community Park, a new public park in Lisbon, Maine. In the fall of 2022, the long-awaited park will finally be completed and will be opened to the public. For Nancy Lawson, Association Executive for MSBOR, the experience was both rewarding—and eye-opening. “We have learned very valuable lessons,” says Lawson, “including how long it takes to see a project through to completion when working with the town and fickle Maine weather.”
The park revitalizes a vacant lot, the former site of landmark restaurant Graziano’s Casa Mia, which was razed in 2013. The new gathering space has been dubbed Graziano Square—an homage to the Graziano family, who ran the restaurant for 42 years—and the park will include greenery and landscaping, picnic tables and benches, a gazebo for live music and other events, parking, and an area for food trucks.
MSBOR donated an information kiosk, which includes a plaque noting the association’s involvement.
Though it has yet to open, the project has already had a positive impact on the community. “Economic Development Director Brett Richardson states that the Graziano Community Park has had a very large impact for the community,” says Lawson. “Not only did it create a beautiful space out of a rundown empty lot, but it also created more parking for community member businesses that surround the park. The town office gets frequent calls thanking them for making this park happen.”
Lisbon Parks and Recreation Director Mark Stevens agrees. “This park will be the beginning of a domino effect that will take place in the Lisbon village,” Stevens told the Times Record in September 2021. “It’s a great opportunity for Lisbon residents to see positive improvements in their part of the town.”
A dedication event has already been held, and an official ribbon-cutting ceremony that will include the Graziano family is planned for October. The association also hopes to participate in further placemaking projects in the future. “Anything we can do to make our town more user friendly is worth it,” says Lawson.