(Nov. 9, 2018) The Coastal Association of Realtors, in partnership with the Maryland Coastal Bays Foundation, received a $2,100 Placemaking grant from the National Association of Realtors to help fund construction of a community garden at the new Berlin branch of the Worcester County Public Library.
The Placemaking Microgrant Program administered by NAR is intended to help Realtor associations partner with others to plan, organize, implement and maintain placemaking programs in their communities.
The grant funded soil, gardening equipment, a glider bench and trellises. The new garden is a revival of a garden established eight years ago at the former Berlin library.
Since its first harvest, the former garden has provided over 5,000 pounds of fresh produce to the homelessness organization Diakonia. The new garden will carry on that tradition, while also serving as a community gathering space and an educational tool, teaching sustainable community gardening to scout and school groups, as well as the general public.
“The aim of this grant program is to help our local communities become better places to live and visit by transforming an unused space into a vibrant public space for the community to gather and enjoy,” said Coastal President Joel Maher.
A group of Coastal members and staff presented the funding to volunteers Pat and Ron Pilling, as well as representatives from Maryland Coastal Bays Foundation, the Berlin Library and Worcester County during a Realtor build day on Oct. 8.
Coastal members built the new bench and a wheelbarrow, and also did some weeding and composting in the garden.
This is the third Realtor Placemaking grant awarded on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore.
Last year, a grant was awarded to build a Pocket Park on Smith Island in Somerset County. In 2016, a Placemaking grant funded construction of a community chalkboard in downtown Berlin.
Placemaking grants are awarded to local and state Realtor associations to help them and their members create new public spaces and destinations in a community, like turning a parking spot into a people spot (parklet) or a vacant lot into a pocket park.
“Our association and our members are actively engaged in the community and know the neighborhoods and the properties that would benefit most from these placemaking projects,” Maher said. “This program is a wonderful way for us to extend our members’ outreach and invest in the communities that we call home.”
Visit www.coastalrealtors.org for more information and to apply for the Placemaking Grant.