NAR - National Association of Realtors

05/10/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/10/2024 13:13

Community Collaboration for Veteran Recognition


Transforming an unused space into a vibrant community destination and seeing the ripple effects continue has been quite an experience in this small town.

Thanks to the generosity of the National Association of REALTORS®, the Mark Twain Association of REALTORS® was able to utilize a Placemaking Grant to help transform an unused corner in the Mississippi River-front town of Canton, MO into the Veterans Memorial Park. The introduction of the new space has led to additional development and improvement to the area, benefitting neighbors and travelers alike, and has helped add value to the neighborhood and local property owners.

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Photos courtesy of the Mark Twain Association of REALTORS®

Before and after images of the Veterans Memorial Park in Canton, MO.

The Mark Twain Association of REALTORS® worked together with the city of Canton, the Canton Parks Board, Canton Main Street Association, the local American Legion, as well as local contractors, volunteers, and donors to bring the project to life. A new granite memorial stone, flagpole and bench seating have made this an honorable location to recognize and remember veterans from all wars, making this an important gathering site for school and history events. The dedication of this site was held on Veterans Day and was attended by all of those involved in the project, community members, leaders, and several media outlets. This provided wonderful exposure for our local and national REALTOR® associations and was a prime example of community involvement and collaboration.

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Photos courtesy of the Mark Twain Association of REALTORS®

Community dedication for the Veterans Memorial Park in Canton, MO

This site is conveniently located just off busy U.S. Highway 61 and near the shopping center, which has made this an attraction for visitors passing through. It is widely used and appreciated by locals as well and has turned into a popular walking destination. Local residents appreciate the efforts to improve unused spaces and have shared their appreciation for the new memorial.

We are still seeing the ripple effects of this project. The city has recently installed a new playground area and swing set, and is working on additional cleanup of the area to add improvements-and possibly a shelter house for community events. This is a prime example of how one small step can lead to further community support and involvement, thus creating a valuable destination for years to come. It has also led to discussions between local REALTORS® and community leaders about future projects for collaboration.

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Photo courtesy of the Mark Twain Association of REALTORS®

Granite memorial stone that identifies the park dedication - Veterans Memorial Park in Canton, MO

Funding for this project was made possible by the Placemaking Grant from the NAR, a donation from the Mark Twain Association of REALTORS®, donations from other local real estate agencies and the Canton Parks Board.

The local REALTORS® and community alike are so appreciative of the Placemaking Grant program, and our local association is actively working on another placemaking grant for the 2024 year. Seeing the community support and appreciation makes this an incredibly rewarding project we are proud to be a part of.

Jennifer Wood is the secretary of the Mark Twain Association of REALTORS®.
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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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