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The North Berrien Community Development Association used their grant from the Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS to help reach their goal to raise funds to complete an artistic tree carving project in Baker Park. Located at the entrance to the downtown area, Baker Park is an historical landmark and a key gathering spot for residents and visitors. Near the center of the park is a 25 foot trunk of a tree that is over hundred years old whichWoodworks Chainsaw Carvings will carve their design into the tree. The detailed design will reflect the local history and the activities, wildlife and agriculture aspects of the community.

Southwestern Michigan REALTORS Association Awarded Placemaking Grant to Help Improve Baker Park in Coloma

The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors? has received a S2,200 Placemaking micro-grant from the National Association of Realtors? to help make Baker Park in Coloma a better place to live and work by transforming unused public spaces into vibrant community places. The grant is intended to help Realtor Associations partner with others to plan, organize, implement and maintain placemaking activities in their communities

The North Berrien Community Development Association will use the grant to help reach their goal to raise funds to complete an artistic tree carving project in Baker Park. Located at the entrance to the downtown area, Baker Park is an historical landmark and a key gathering spot for residents and visitors

Near the center of the park is a 25 foot trunk of a tree that is over hundred years old.

Chana Kniebes, Community Development Coodinator stated, ?Jon Mykkanen & Marie Serafin

Of Woodworks Chainsaw Carvings Ishpeming, MI is developing a design that will be carved into the tree trunk which will represent the local history of Coloma. The design is very detailed and the elements will reflect the activities, wildlife and agriculture aspects of the community. As an art piece the transformed tree trunk will encourage social interactions and enjoyment during the numerous festivals and events that occur all year long. By combining history and beauty we will add a showpiece to the downtown.?

City Mayor, James Polashak, said, ?This project will draw attention to this park and encourage visitors and locals to slow down and linger in the park and spend dollars in the community, to help spur our local economy. Our initial quote for this project is $5,000. The placemaking grant will help us to raise matching funds from locals businesses and individuals that have expressed interest in helping us achieve our goal.?

Mikki Swisher, American Homes, 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 able to enjoy this very unique addition to an already utilized downtown gathering place. I find it to be a very creative way of combining both art and history into a permanent landmark for our community and those visiting to enjoy for generations. It will be a cost effective way of enhancing the downtown area. Once created the tree carving will require little or no maintenance as traditional signage does.

The project is expected to start at the end of July and be completed in August.

?Realtors? live, work and volunteer in their communities and take immense pride in working to improve them,? said Debbie Floor, President, 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 communities that are in need of improvement or redevelopment 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 initiate placemaking projects in the community, like turning a parking lot into a farmer?s market or a vacant lot into a playground. 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 Coloma area becomes more attractive and welcoming, nearby properties may also increase in value,? stated Floor.
About

The Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS?, Inc. is a professional trade association for real estate licensees and ancillary service providers for the real estate industry in Van Buren, Berrien and Cass counties. The Association is located at 3123 Lake Shore Drive St. Joseph, MI 49085, (269) 983.6375. They can also be contacted through their web site, www.swmar.com.

To find out more about National Association of Realtors? placemaking grants visit,?realtoractioncenter.org/Placemaking.