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Ring in 2021 by Planning a New Destination in Your Neighborhood

A new year is upon us and it’s time to think about creating new outdoor public spaces and destinations in your community, especially in light of COVID-19 as living outdoors has become a necessity as restrictions and public safety concerns have limited, or banned, indoor activities. Now is the time to start making plans to provide welcoming, fun outdoor places, including places to gather in the coming winter months. See Placemaking During a COVID-19 Winter.

After months of staying home, communities are witnessing an unprecedented demand from residents for places to walk, hike, relax, and simply get out of the house. Parks and trails, which help to improve both our physical and mental health, have provided some lucky residents with a place to escape during the pandemic. But many communities do not have access to open and green spaces.

Does your community provide access to open spaces for everyone in the community? If not, it’s time to make a plan to change that. See Public Spaces Are Even More Important in Our New Normal.

Does your neighborhood have a heart, a center, where everyone could meet, enjoy, and gather? If not, maybe it’s time to create one. The Project for Public Spaces (PPS) looks at placemaking as inspiring people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community.

As you embark on your project, NAR is here to help with funding. NAR’s Placemaking and Smart Growth grants are available to our state and local REALTOR® Associations to partner with others in their communities to build better communities whether that be to create new public spaces or to advocate for public policies that impact the built environment.

The Placemaking Grant(link is external) funds the creation of new public spaces and destinations. Think pocket parks, trails, gardens, plazas, dog parks, play areas, and alley activations. It could also be used to implement some of the ideas from a community input session that was funded by the Smart Growth Grant(link is external) which funds the engagement in local land-use/transportation policy issues.

There are a variety of projects to become engaged in and some of our REALTOR® Associations have set great examples to follow.

Using NAR’s Placemaking Grant and funding from the St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation, the St. Louis REALTORS® (MO) transformed a vacant piece of land within the St. Louis Greater Ville neighborhood into a community park. REALTORS® lent a helping hand to help 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 and is a perfect welcoming destination for the whole community. St. Louis City Community Park: A celebration of a special neighborhood and the REALTOR® spirit.

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