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RISMEDIA, June 2, 2008-The National Association of Realtors® has awarded $48,262 to 13 local and state Realtor® associations through the Smart Growth Action Grants program. The grants are awarded to help associations implement smart growth programs and activities that position Realtors® as leaders in improving their communities.

According to the association, NAR established the Smart Growth Action Grant program in 2005 to increase the effectiveness of Realtor associations in creating livable communities. Individual grants of up to $5,000 are awarded twice per year; more than 92 grants totaling $264,000 have been awarded through the program. Funds can be used to further community planning activities or host events such as a conference or speakers’ series on topics ranging from transportation and zoning to open space preservation and school development.

“Realtors build communities and care about improving them through smart growth initiatives,” said NAR President Dick Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif. “NAR’s smart growth grants help Realtors and their local and state associations become more involved in creating livable communities that meet the changing demands of their clients and customers and result in more walkable, mixed-use communities with a wider range of housing options.”

The following 13 Realtor associations were named Smart Growth Action Grant recipients:

– Arcadia Association of Realtors® (Arcadia, Calif.): $5,000 to host a green building seminar and expo to help educate Realtors® about green building initiatives.
– Biloxi Ocean Springs Association of Realtors® (Biloxi, Miss.): $1,500 to bring Realtors® from several cities together to develop a learning network about initiating smart growth activities in each community.
– East Metro Association of Realtors® (Gresham, Ore.): $5,000 to work with the city of Damascus to educate Realtors® about a new smart growth plan being developed for the area.
– Fremont County Board of Realtors® (Lander, Wyo.): $5,000 to support efforts with the city of Riverton to create a citizen-based plan for developing a housing component of the City’s Master Plan.
– Gulf Coast Association of Realtors® (Gulfport, Miss.): $3,000 to train Realtors®, appraisers, developers and community leaders on the provisions of recently adopted SmartCode zoning plans of five Gulf Coast communities.
– Hattiesburg Area Association of Realtors® (Hattiesburg, Miss.): $5,000 to support smart growth training for local planners, leaders, engineers, and government officials as well as a meeting to explore the role of economic development in communities and how it relates to smart growth.
– Hernando County Association of Realtors® (Brooksville, Fla.): $1,642 to produce a series of workshops on affordable housing and the future needs of the community.
– Jackson Association of Realtors® (Jackson, Miss.): $3,500 to hold a meeting between Realtors®, developers, builders, and municipal leaders to discuss the role each plays in the creation of housing. The goal of the meeting is to increase Realtor involvement in future decisions regarding housing developments and their locations.
– Northeast Mississippi Board of Realtors® (Tupelo, Miss.): $3,000 to host a meeting for Realtors to discuss urban flight and develop an action plan to revitalize the city’s downtown.
– Northwest Mississippi Association of Realtors® (Nesbit, Miss.): $3,000 to support a five-year smart growth training program for county planning commissioners.
– Pearl River Board of Realtors® (Picayune, Miss.): $3,500 to educate Realtors about smart growth principles to influence more sustainable development projects.
– Reading-Burks Association of Realtors® (Wyomissing, Pa.): $5,000 to work with the Berks County Smart Growth Alliance to establish a Smart Growth municipal assistance program and facilitate adoption of smart growth principles.
– San Luis Obispo Association of Realtors® (San Luis Obispo, Calif.): $4,120 to host a one-day training for Realtors and the public on green building and smart growth planning. The event will include a field trip to local infill housing sites.

For more information, visit Applications for the next round of grants are due October 3, 2008.