Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Mountains to Shore Board of REALTORS® Collaborates on New Park

Community park in Lisbon, Maine, partially funded by an NAR Placemaking Grant, will open for the public in October.

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.


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.