Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Our Story Walk Trail: A Place to Explore for Years to Come

Written by Ali Taylor, Association Executive Coeur d’Alene Association of REALTORS®

Amanda Kuespert, our Association President, knew she wanted to do something on the behalf of the Association that would make an impact on a community and that would last into perpetuity. So, we decided to use the National Association of REALTORS®’ placemaking grant to help Amanda’s goals become a reality.

The Association had already helped to build a great playground a few years ago in Coeur d’Alene, the largest city in our jurisdiction. For our second project, we wanted to branch out to another community to impact.

We wanted to see what was on the planning boards of a few of our neighboring cities and so we set up appointments with their Park and Recreation divisions.  We met with several jurisdictions and heard the ideas that they had already been brainstorming. When we spoke to Eric Singer, Rathdrum Parks and Rec director, about his story walk idea, we knew immediately this was the project we had to be involved with.

A story walk, or storybook trail, is a trail where as you walk along the trail, you find a page from a storybook, and then another one, and you begin to realize you’re following a story. See Storybook Trails: Where Kids Can Walk and Learn at the Same Time.

The project gave us the opportunity to be involved in the project from the beginning to the end from prepping the site to picking the first book that would be showcased at the grand opening. This trail would be great for any age group and would truly be a shining star in the area where there was nothing like it.   And we would have some real ownership and creative input. It was perfect.

So, we dug in with the project.  We walked through the wooded site and planned out where the trail would be. The site was nothing but weeds and dead trees and we got down and dirty by removing weeds, logs, and debris. We began to see the trail take formation. The next trip back, we marked where the story posts, which would display pages from the book, would be installed. Then we made a volunteer call for an all hands-on deck to do the final clearing, dig the holes, mix the concrete and install the posts.  

We also added some art work – a giant Sasquatch and two smaller ones within the trail for kids to find as well as some benches and bridges along the trail. We had a great group of REALTORS® come out to help and we were done in no time at all.

At the grand opening ceremonies, the Rathdrum Mayor attended and light heartedly said the town’s mountain was where you could find Big Foot thanks to the REALTORS®. It’s a project our members can be proud of for years to come.

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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
opportunities.

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.

Diversity
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.