The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors® and the National Association of Realtors® provided $3,500 Placemaking Grant to help make Watervliet to be a better place to live and work by transforming an unused space into vibrant place for the community to gather and enjoy.

The grant is intended to help Realtor Associations partner with others to plan, organize, implement and maintain Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper Placemaking projects in their communities.

The grant from Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors® and National Association of Realtors® will be used to purchase a beautiful two-faced Victorian style exterior post clock to be installed in Downtown Watervliet.

Chana Kniebes, Community Development Coordinator stated, “The clock will be installed near Library Park on Main Street which is a central location in the downtown area. The clock will become a focal point in our community.

Mikki Swisher, American Homes Real Estate, Coloma, was the Realtor sponsor for the North Berrien Community Development Association grant. Swisher explained the reason for her endorsement, “I want the neighborhood to be a place of beauty and enjoyment for all that pass by as well as for those that sit for a spell and relax while taking in the sights of Watervliet’s downtown. The historical image of the clock lends well to a themed “Library Park” in the heart of Downton where I envision groups and families walking to the many quaint and unique Main Street stores and meeting back with their group “at the clock in the park”. This beautiful clock will become the go-to-place for downtown Watervliet, just as the tree carving has become the “go to place” for downtown Coloma.

“Realtors® live, work and volunteer in their communities and take immense pride in working to improve them,” said Robert Kaufman, President of the Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS®, Inc.

“Placemaking can help foster healthier, more social and economically viable communities. It creates places where people feel a strong stake in their neighborhoods and are committed to making things better. This grant will allow us to address areas in our community that need enhancement and revitalization and create a place where friends and neighbors can come together.”

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 or a vacant lot into a pocket park. Realtor® associations and their Realtor® members are actively engaged in the community and know the neighborhoods and the properties that would benefit most from these improvement efforts. 

“As the Watervliet area becomes more attractive and welcoming, nearby properties may also increase in value,” stated Kaufman.                                                


The Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS®, Inc. is a professional trade association for real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and ancillary service providers for the real estate industry in Van Buren, Berrien and Cass Counties. The Association can be contacted at 269-983-6375 or through their website at www.swmar.com

North Berrien Community Development is organized for the specific and primary purpose of sustaining and improving the economic vitality of North Berrien County through developing family-oriented communities with joint programs, services and regulatory alignment among the active municipalities. If you would like more information about this organization, please contact Community Development Coordinator Chana Kniebes at 269-468-4430.