Written by Patti Lawton, REALTOR®
Real Estate Broker, Legacy Properties Sotheby's International Realty
The residents of Richmond, Maine, with a population of just over 3,000, came together last summer and fall to build a new Community Library. Set on the site of the Richmond’s very old library, which was demolished, the town reached out to its citizens with a proposal to use volunteer labor and donated materials to build the library.
Knowing the importance of community buildings and with a strong sense of how people view their town and surroundings, a group of very dedicated people drew up building plans and gathered bids. Volunteers were recruited and the building of the library began.
By late summer, the building was completed and stocked with books. However, the grounds still bore the scars of construction and funds were depleted. The community came together again, this time with the help of its local REALTORS®.
The Merrymeeting Board of REALTORS® received a Placemaking grant from the National Association of REALTORS®, which was used to help create an outdoor reading room and community garden. Along with donations from an area landscaping architect and landscaping company, the project is on its way to be a place for residents, and visitors, to gather, sit, read, relax and enjoy a quiet moment.
Victoria Boundy, Director of Community & Business Development for the Town of Richmond (ME) thinks the new library and community garden space creates a sense of place in the town. “In a small town like Richmond, without an arts center or even a community center, the library is such an integral part of the community. Now in the center of the village, the space brings a wide range of people together for learning, arts and cultural programming, and those informal daily interactions with others that add so much to the quality of community life. The new reading garden will provide an “outdoor room” for all of those activities.”
As REALTORS®, we know that the heart of a town is its community and the stronger the community, the stronger the real estate market is. Without the help of NAR’s Placemaking grant, the rest of the support may not have come together and without that, the library would just have been a building to run in and out of. Now we have a gathering spot that all may enjoy.