Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

REALTORS® Make Melbourne's Dogs' Dreams Come True

Written by Tammie Watts, Government Affairs Director, Space Coast Association of REALTORS®

It may be hard to envision the value NAR’s Placemaking grants have within a community if one has never seen the final product come to life. In Brevard County, we were able to witness first-hand just what a difference these grants can make. We watched as a sprawling plot of land came to life and was transformed into a robust space peppered with prancing dogs, smiling children, and happy pet owners.

Melbourne, FL dog park - people with dogs, covered bench

© Space Coast Association of REALTORS®

South Melbourne’s first dog park had humble beginnings. A true community effort, Pieloch Dog Park was first envisioned by Melbourne Councilman Paul Alfrey who enlisted local partners to raise funds for its creation. Councilman Alfrey contacted the Space Coast Association of REALTORS® about the park building project. The Association felt this was a perfect opportunity for an NAR’s Placemaking Grant, which funds the creation of public spaces and destinations in a community. Other partners who helped build the park from the ground up were the City of Melbourne, the American Muscle Car Museum, Hydro Plumbing, D Bell General Contracting, Lowe’s, and Alfrey Roofing.  

Melbourne, FL dog park - covered area with sand pit, tire toys

© Space Coast Association of REALTORS®

The build took place from April 1 through April 12. When the project began, a bare piece of land stood where a communal area now exists. More than 100 volunteers from our community assembled to help install fencing, paint, plant trees, lay sod and rock, and build the agility course in two days. Ten live oak trees were planted to provide ample shade. In addition, four benches with sun sail shades were placed in the large dog section and two more were installed in the small dog section. The dog park offers custom fire hydrant water features and an agility course. A pavilion was assembled in each area, as well as dog wash areas and misting stations to cool furry friends down.

Melbourne, FL dog park - woman walking, people talking, painted tires, covered bench

© Space Coast Association of REALTORS®

The Placemaking grant was used to purchase 13 multi-colored Adirondack chairs made from recycled materials and four trees to help with beautification efforts. Each chair bears the Association’s name on it and an advocacy or community quote on the plaque.

Melbourne, FL dog park - 3 multi-colored chairs, people with their dogs in the background

© Space Coast Association of REALTORS®

The Pieloch Dog Park ribbon cutting ceremony was held on April 13 and was followed by a reception for volunteers and sponsors on April 14 at the American Muscle Car Museum in Melbourne. On opening day, there were more than 60 dogs in the large dog area and more than 20 in the small dog area, and only a few growls took place, which could be construed as evidence of just how much fun they were having in their new park.

Melbourne, FL dog park - 2 kids playing with 2 dogs next to a dog steps

© Space Coast Association of REALTORS®

Pieloch Dog Park welcomes community members and their four-legged friends to enjoy the great outdoors, making it just the sort of thing the Placemaking grant is intended to help create. The Placemaking grant did everything it is intended to and more. The Association received a lot of appreciation on social media and in the newspapers. There are 13 plaques within Pieloch Dog Park that bear our name and they are permanent fixtures. The ribbon cutting was very well attended by city, county, and state officials who gathered to take in the project’s culmination. Most importantly, this effort brought the community together as the grant intends.

Melbourne, FL dog park - people standing next to painted fire hydrants, covered bench in the background

© Space Coast Association of REALTORS®

Through the infusion of funds and the work of dedicated volunteers, Pieloch Dog Park is the nicest one in the state of Florida with pools and agility courses just for man’s best friend. Melbourne now has a destination where neighborhood dogs can socialize with others, run off leash, and just be dogs.

There are already discussions about building more of these parks in Brevard county. We look forward to being a part of these future endeavors and serving our community in this unique facet.

Melbourne, FL dog park - kid standing next to a painted fire hydrant, dog running

© Space Coast Association of REALTORS®

Read more about the Space Coast Association of REALTORS®.


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

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