As NAR’s Placemaking Grant is now in its fourth year, it might be a good time to reflect back and see how some REALTOR® Associations used the grant to fund placemaking projects in their community.
Maybe your association will use the Placemaking Grant this year and have your project become a REALTOR® Party Success Story.
Please note that some of these were done in previous years. The grant requirements have been updated in 2017 to have a bigger impact in communities. The grant now only funds the creation of new public spaces like pocket parks, gardens, trails, plazas and parklets.
On June 2, 2016, the Hopkinsville Dog Park was opened by an official ribbon cutting ceremony, with plenty of dogs in attendance, ready to romp. It was all the idea of the 56-member Hopkinsville Christian & Todd County Association of REALTORS® and a Placemaking Micro-Grant from the REALTOR® Party helped make it a reality.
Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS® - June 2016
Nearly 600 REALTORS® from the Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS® (WRAR) participated in its second annual REALTOR® Action Day—aka "RAD." From playing music at senior centers to planting plants and clean-up and landscaping projects, RAD was full of WRAR members working to improve their community. Nearly 100 participants built a community garden with park benches and a tool shed using a $3,000 Placemaking Micro-grant.
The 2,500-member Plymouth and South Shore Association of REALTORS® (PASS) has a strong and vital charitable arm that is accustomed to giving back, but past April 16, and again on Earth Day, about 20 members couldn’t resist an opportunity to get out in the fresh air and get their hands dirty with a community garden placemaking project.
Small in Size, Mighty in Impact: The Greater Mason City Board of REALTORS® - April 2016
The 82-member Greater Mason City Board of REALTORS® in northern Iowa has prided itself on its community involvement, recently applying for a Placemaking Micro-grant. To formalize its program, the association developed a Core Standards Committee and Community Outreach Task Force consisting of a handful of REALTORS® and its one-and-a-half staff members, who have ramped up the group’s already robust tradition of community service to an impressive pitch.
Despite what you've heard about teaching old dogs new tricks, the century-old REALTOR® Association of Pioneer Valley (RAPV) has taken to the REALTOR® Party's Placemaking initiative like a puppy to a fetch-stick. After learning about The REALTOR® Party’s Placemaking Grant, the 1,650-member association came up with ideas to help transform neglected public spaces into vibrant community gathering places.
What started as two people talking about how to spend $2,200 to improve the atmosphere of a bleak urban space, resulted in a vibrant public arts project that is now valued at $50,000, attracted a visit from a Supreme Court Justice, and, most importantly, has spurred pride and positive engagement in its neighborhood. See how a Placemaking Grant led the Bronx-Manhattan North Association of REALTORS® to partner with the Bronx Community Board 9, resulting in a beautiful piece of public art and community building.
The 1,718-member Greater Springfield (MO) Board of REALTORS® was keen to show that they truly cared about their community. They found that opportunity by helping to restore the city’s beloved 31-acre Phelps Grove Park after a major ice storm had damaged much of its landscape. With an NAR placemaking grant, they not only helped to bring the park back to life, but they also added a patio at the intersection of several of the park’s walking paths, enhanced by two handsome stone benches bearing the board’s name.
A 65-year-old granite eagle monument to honor veterans had become an eyesore from years of neglect, and the 1,500-member Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® decided to do something about it. They put a placemaking grant from NAR to work, along with elbow grease from their members and other volunteers, to restore the monument and grounds, triggering a surge of local civic pride in the process.
When the small town of Richmond, Maine rebuilt their community library, the local 213-member Merrymeeting Board of REALTORS® stepped forward with an NAR Placemaking Micro-Grant to provide a reading garden and patio to go with it. The funds were used to create a large stone patio with a stepping-stone pathway, a sturdy bench, and shrubbery to anchor the garden. Come spring, hundreds of perennials that townspeople have donated from their own gardens will be transplanted to complete the setting.
The 500-member Missoula Organization of REALTORS® put a placemaking grant, as well as their muscle-power, to work to bring an all-abilities playground to their city’s McCormick Park. The NAR grant, along with funds of their own and another community grant helped to pay for the playground that features rubberized surfaces, a sensory play area, and specialized equipment like a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round. Volunteers worked with professional contractors to build it.
After hosting a successful, yet strenuous, walk-a-thon as part of its first annual Health Fair, the 835-member Northern Kentucky Association of REALTORS® (NKAR) saw the need for some places to rest along the way. Not a group to rest on its laurels – even after celebrating their 100-year anniversary this year—NKAR used a Placemaking Micro-Grant from NAR, along with funds of their own, to pay for two REALTOR-branded park benches along the county’s new walking/bike trail.
After two years, the 'Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper' placemaking challenge launched by the Michigan Association of REALTORS® (MAR) is proving that little things make a big difference. In 2012, MAR hosted "Michigan Great Places," a placemaking leadership forum run by Project for Public Spaces (PPS). Bolstered by a Smart Growth Action Grant from NAR, the state association then challenged its local associations to devise site-specific projects to revitalize neighborhoods. From installing walking path signage, to creating a community book exchange, to supporting a mobile garden, REALTORS across the state are putting the state’s micro placemaking grants to work.