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Young Professionals Engage in Placemaking

Written by Erin Corry, Government Affairs Coordinator, West Volusia Association of REALTORS

Every year, the West Volusia Association of REALTORS’ Young Professionals Network (YPN) gives back to their community by supporting local organizations through volunteering. This year, YPN decided to get involved in a big way and participated in a joint project between the city and local organizations to rebuild and restore one of Deland’s iconic spaces, Freedom Playground.

Before & After Photos of the Playground.

Before & After Photos of the Playground.

Situated on a registered Historic Site, Freedom Playground was originally constructed in 1991 and even today it remains the only community built playground in Deland, FL.

As a group, Realtor® are uniquely positioned to understand the value that great places, such as parks and playgrounds, bring to both a community and its homeowners. The availability of green spaces and public recreation facilities, especially for families with children, can be a major influence on a buyer’s decision making process.

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Participating in the Freedom Playground rebuild gave YPN members the perfect opportunity to give back to their community and to increase the attractiveness of Deland for current and future homeowners.

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The West Volusia YPN was first approached to participate in the Freedom Playground rebuild by other WVAR members. This project truly was community-wide and many of our Affiliate members and Realtor® were active in the project in some way. It was their enthusiasm for the Freedom Playground that encouraged YPN to get involved in the rebuild.

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After some careful consideration, our YPN Chair Candace Cecil decided to apply for an NAR Placemaking Micro-grant to fund the construction of a covered seating area in the park, a perfect spot for parents to sit and enjoy the shade while their children play.

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On the day of their shift, YPN members not only worked to construct the covered seating area, but they also helped assemble the slides, monkey bars, and bridges that is a must have for every playground. YPN members even helped drill a new playground cover into place while carefully balanced on makeshift scaffolding.

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Thankfully, and despite the presence of power tools, the project was a huge success! In fact, this project was such a success that the West Volusia YPN is already working on putting together another Placemaking project, Colin’s Dream Park, so they can continue giving back to the community.

The Freedom Playground project was planned to be a total rebuilding of the park, to create an interactive, physically challenging but fun and accessible playground for all children. Since reopening, Freedom Playground has been wildly popular with children and families in Deland, FL and it is our hope that it remains a safe and beautiful gathering place for many years to come.

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