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Placemaking Brings People Together Safely

What started out as a push to provide a temporary outdoor dining space for the community to support local restaurants during the pandemic will soon become the latest “parklet” in Fairfax County, Va., thanks in part to a REALTOR® Placemaking grant.

As Fairfax County prepared to move into Phase 1 of the commonwealth’s business reopening plan in the spring and summer, staff from the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® reached out to Fairfax County Chairman Jeff McKay to identify ways REALTORS® could help area businesses.

The initial idea was to create a public space under the county’s proposed temporary outdoor dining permit that could support businesses that didn’t have access to physically distanced outdoor dining areas of their own. As the idea evolved, the concept shifted to a more permanent facility that would reinvigorate an existing space in southern Fairfax County.

In partnership with the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation, NVAR helped create a new, landscaped public space at Mount Vernon Plaza. Opened in November, the space features outdoor dining, family games and activities, public art, and historical markers, and there are plans to add an event space. With the help of a Placemaking grant provided by the National Association of REALTORS®, the plaza is becoming an active community destination.

NAR’s Placemaking grant program offers financial assistance to REALTOR® associations and members engaging in placemaking in their communities. Have an idea for a future placemaking project? Visit realtorparty.realtor for more information about grant funding.

Orange Chatham Stages Successful Day of Service

The Orange Chatham Association of REALTORS® in Chapel Hill, N.C., performed its annual Day of Service in spite of the pandemic, collecting more than 1,600 pounds of food for families in Orange and Chatham counties needing assistance.

“According to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, approximately 1 in 7 people living in those two counties is without sufficient food,” says REALTOR® Marcia Vaughn, chair of 2020’s “Food Drive and CAN-Struction” event. “Hearing this sobering fact was a wake-up call, and the members of OCHAR responded quickly and generously by donating over 1,600 pounds of food and household supplies.”

OCHAR offered special thanks to the member firms that participated: Coldwell Banker Advantage, Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston, Fathom Realty, Fonville Morisey, Gates Management and Realty, Real Living Carolina Property, Allen Tate, REALTORS®, Terra Nova Global Properties, and Triangle & Coast Realty.

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