Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

St. Louis City Community Park: A celebration of a special neighborhood and the REALTOR® spirit

Written by Rick Capelli, Staff Liaison, St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation

In sports it’s often spelled out like this: “If you talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk.”

REALTORS® in St. Louis have made sure the spirit of this popular phrase is alive and well in 2018 and beyond when it comes to their profession. As builders of communities, and not just “home sellers”, St. Louis REALTORS® have made sure they are truly “walking the walk.”

Earlier this year, St. Louis REALTORS® and the organization’s charitable arm – the St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation –transformed a vacant piece of land within the St. Louis Greater Ville neighborhood into a community park.  The St. Louis Greater Ville neighborhood is a historic community of homes and businesses located in North St. Louis, Missouri. The park was a perfect fit for the vacant lot.  It adjoins an established urban garden in a community with an aging population who do not have the resources to care for and improve the area on their own.  A perfect spot to create a welcoming destination for the whole community.

The effort was a joint project, spearheaded by financing from St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation and volunteers from St. Louis REALTORS®, an association of more than 8,000 members. The local not-for-profit agency, Rebuilding Together St. Louis, was also part of the project, assisting with coordination and skilled labor.

Volunteers, including our REALTOR® members, lent a helping hand from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12 for the first round of work before completion finished shortly before 2 p.m. on Thursday, September 13.   Volunteers for this year’s project helped assemble new benches, plant flowers and shrubs, construct wooden privacy fences and much more. The new park is now completed and includes urban gardens, flower boxes and handicap accessible walk ways.

St. Louis REALTORS® staff working on a vacant lot to buid a community park in the St. Louis Greater Ville neighborhood.

Photos courtesy of the St. Louis REALTORS®

“I think it’s important for us as REALTORS® to actually give back to the neighborhoods that we actually sell in,” said St. Louis REALTORS® volunteer Rene Brauner. “We want to make sure it feels like home and it’s a place where people who live in these areas can enjoy the nature and everything we’re working on.”

St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation officially introduced the park to the community in a dedication ceremony on Friday, October 26, 2018. Special invited guests included U.S. Congressman Lacy Clay, Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed, St. Louis City Ward Alderman Samuel Moore and Missouri REALTORS® President Nate Johnson.  The Master of Ceremonies was our President Marc Levinson.

From left to right. David Ervin,Executive Director, Rebuilding Together St. Louis; United States Congressman Lacy Clay; Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed; St. Louis Alderman Samuel Moore; St. Louis REALTORS President Marc Levinson The Reverend Clyde R. Crumpton of Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church; Missouri REALTORS President Nate Johnson and St. Louis REALTORS CEO Dan Sale.

Turning an empty piece of land into a fun and family friendly area isn’t anything new for St. Louis REALTORS®, who, in 2017, transformed an empty lot in St. Louis’ Old North area into a pocket park.

“Giving back to our community is what St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation is all about”, says 2018 St. Louis REALTORS® President Marc Levinson. “Our Foundation and REALTOR® committee members have done a great job in pitching in.”


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.