realtors greenspace

PHOTO BY JAMES D. WOLF JR.

The first green space improvements that the White County Realtors Association did is next to its office on Washington Street in Monticello. They plan to finish a similar project in Reynolds and do one in Monon this year.

MONON — The lawn area north of Monon’s Town Hall is the next in line for a beautification treatment from the White County Association of Realtors.

The association has previously made improvements in Reynolds with landscaping, and in Monticello around its own building at 103 W. Washington St.

Realtor and Monon Chamber of Commerce member Jeff Bossing contacted the Monon council about improving the grassy area next to town hall, said Carol Hendress, association executive of the White County Association of Realtors.

Council members were open to the idea at their May 15 meeting but wanted to know more.

The project is still in the preliminary stages, said Hendress, who hopes to discuss it with them at the June 19 council meeting.

Initial ideas are for landscaping, a picnic table and a trash can.

How much the realtors will do includes any improvements the town would want to put into the project at its own cost.

However, they hope to get the project done this year, she said.

The improvements are part of a program started by the National Association of Realtors about three to four years ago, she said.

They wanted to come up with standards that local associations need to meet to retain membership and to show they’re involved in their communities.

“They want the realtors to be involved in the community,” Hendress said. “They want them to be physically involved in it, not just write a check.”

To help local realtor associations pay for these civic improvements, the national association offers grants, some fully funded and some requiring realtor associations to provide matching funds.

The program has been popular, so the grants have gone from $5,000 per association annually to $3,000 per association.

The White County Association of Realtors decided to choose two different municipalities to work in each year because they don’t just sell homes in Monticello, she said.

The first year they started around their office.

At the White County Association of Realtors building, the beautification included new landscaping, a free community “library” box for people to take or leave books, and a bench.

In Reynolds, they improved the area around the old post office, adding a shade tree, arborvitae and picnic bench.

The association plans to paint the west side of the building, but rain has delayed it, she said.

There will also be a sign explaining the history of the site.