The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors® and the Michigan Association of Realtors® provided $2,602 Placemaking Grant to help make the City of South Haven a better place to live and work by transforming an unused space into a 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 the Realtors® Associations will be used to provide four Ada Swings in four City parks, Kids’ Corner, Tot Lot Optimist Park, South Beach, and North Beach. The new swings will be installed on existing swing sets at each park in order to provide ADA compliant accessible swings for residents and visitors. The swings will accommodate children and young adults with special needs. The seats recline at varying levels and have an overhead yoke to provide as much support as a child would need. The swings also include armrests and footrests to accommodate a range of sizes of children. Park staff will work with local Realtors to install the swings so there will be no installation costs.

Deb Davidson, Grant Writer for the City of South Haven, explained, “Addition of the ADA swings in each park will provide an activity that a disabled person does not otherwise have at the parks. The ADA swings will offer inclusion for a special needs person and their families. Families with special needs children will now have the opportunity to spend a longer amount of quality time at the park because of the addition of the ADA swings.”

Davidson continued, “The LQC grant will help the City to address its lack of ADA play activities and create the space that allows families of all abilities to hang out for a few hours or a whole day. A goal of all city parks is to enhance the park elements so that people of all abilities have the opportunity to recreate in a safe, clean environment.”

Amanda Soukup, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Weber-Seiler Realtors, South Haven was the Realtor sponsor for the grant. Soukup explained the reason for her endorsement, “ADA Swings are very limited in our area. Our parks are used by residents as well as tourists. To supply a child with a swing where they and their parents feel safe will be outstanding. These swings are high quality and will withstand heavy use. The swings will provide different levels of support as needed by the children.”

“Realtors® live, work and volunteer in their communities and take immense pride in working to improve them,” said Mark Van Dusen, 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 City of South Haven becomes more attractive and welcoming, nearby properties may also increase in value,” stated Van Dusen. 

For more information on the Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors® placemaking initiative, visit www.swmar.com. To find out more about the National Association of Realtors® placemaking program visit, https://realtorparty.realtor/community-outreach/placemaking                                                           


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.

The City of South Haven is located in Berrien County, MI. The City Manager is Brian Dissette. The City Hall is located at 539 Phoenix Street, South Haven, Michigan 49090. They can be contacted at 269-637-0700 or through the City website – www.south-haven.com