Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

REALTORS® Launch Creation of Hope on the South Side

Written by Meghan Webber, CEO, Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS®

REALTORS® don’t just sell homes, they help build communities.

And to prove this, the Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS® developed an Adopt-A-Park project where each year the Association adopts a neighborhood park to create a community destination and gathering place in the community.

Lansing, MI, Pop-Up Park - realtors planting a tree in the park

© Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS®

“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to give back to communities where we all live, work and play. Strong communities will help build a better future for everyone,” said Erica McAvoy, president of the Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS®.

Lansing, MI, Pop-Up Park - man with kids standing in front of a blue wall with a printed message saying follow your heart.

© Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS®

This year, REALTORS® selected the South Side Community Coalition for a park project because of the Coalition’s involvement in the surrounding community. The Coalition is an amazing resource for the area’s youth and their family.

The Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS® staff initiated the project by working with the Coalition to determine their needs and wants for the park. The selected site for the park already had a basketball hoop, balls, swing set, teeter-totters, and a pedaling merry go-round.  But it needed more to enhance the space and make it more welcoming.

Lansing, MI, Pop-Up Park - a woman and 4 kids decorating a fence

© Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS®

The Association bought and custom painted two picnic-game tables, a Little Free Library, interactive fence art, reading nook, PVC pipe xylophone, yard Yahtzee, disc golf, permanent hopscotch, Twister, soccer balls and cones, and deck boxes to store all the new equipment long term.

Lansing, MI, Pop-Up Park - man playing ball with kids, man in a realtor blue shirt on a ladder painting wall in the background

© Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS®

After several months spent planning the project and work days spent assembling the equipment, REALTORS® were finally ready to launch the Pop-Up Park to the neighborhood with a party.

Lansing, MI, Pop-Up Park -girl in blue realtor jacket helping 3 women decorate the park fence

© Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS®

Members of the Coalition and the neighborhood were invited to check out the new features and enjoy freshly popped popcorn and a meal from Picnic: A Food Truck. All expenses were paid with money raised by members of the Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS®.

Lansing, MI, Pop-Up Park - a woman sitting on a read chair reading a book to a kid, another kid sitting on a blue chair

© Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS®

REALTOR® and talented artist Frank Vicente painted a mural on the back of the building. Attendees of the party enjoyed watching Vicente in action, some describing the mural as “the creation of hope.” The mural is complete with a balloon design encouraging people to take Instagram pictures.

Lansing, MI, Pop-Up Park - REALTOR and talented artist Frank Vicente painting a mural on the back of the building

© Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS®

McAvoy, a REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood, helped Lansing Mayor Andy Schor cut the ribbon on the project and welcome the new park into the community.   In addition to Mayor Schor, Lansing Councilman Adam Hussain, who represents this ward, came out to show support and spend quality time with South Side residents.

The area is continuing to grow. A brand new Kaboom playground is also being installed this month complete with a walking trail. It is also home to the brand-new soccer field, Beacon Park.

This is the fourth project in the Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS® Adopt-A-Park program. Each year, the Association chooses a local park and helps activate the space. The goal of this project is to build engagement activities and encourage community gathering.

Last year the REALTORS® built a Pop-Up Park on a vacant lot in the Baker neighborhood. Previously, the Association installed a music garden at Edmore Park near Old Town and a bike fix-it station at Dunneback Park on Lansing’s West Side.

Lansing, MI, Pop-Up Park - REALTORS group photo in front of the park

© Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS®

To follow the Adopt-A-Park program and see more photos, visit the Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS® Facebook page.


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.