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Housing Coalition Executive Director Victoria Laracy (left) stands with LeeAnn O’Hara, incoming White Mountain Board of Realtors president, after receiving their donation for $5,000. (COURTESY PHOTO)

CONWAY — The White Mountain Board of Realtors recently awarded a check for $5,000 to the Mount Washington Valley Housing Coalition.

These funds will help the MWVHC to advance their mission of strengthening community and economy by advocating and promoting affordable housing.

The funds are provided via the National Association of Realtors’ Smart Growth grant program, which supports a wide range of land-use related activities. To be considered for a grant, plans and actions must “support a more sustainable development paradigm,” according to the NAR website.

The MWVHC plans to apply the funds to their 2019 Charrette Project. A charrette is an intensive planning session where citizens, planners and housing industry professionals collaborate on a vision for development. This is the fifth charrette on which the WMBR and the MWVHC have partnered.

“I am so happy with the amazing partnership and support we have with the WMBR,” stated Victoria Laracy, MWVHC executive director. “There are seven local Realtors on our Charrette Committee, and they are very involved in the process.”

“The MWV Workforce Housing Design Charrettes are dedicated to transforming the way people work together by broadening community’s capacity for collaboration,” Laracy explained.

“Each charrette is a hypothetical thought exercise that harnesses the talents and energies of volunteer architects, engineers and other housing industry professionals. The charrette process relies on the realistic challenges presented by a real site but allows the community and volunteers to ask “what if?”

“We ask community members to describe their vision for the property and our volunteers to bring these ideas to life. The charrette process is intended to be catalyst, helping host communities identify and change local land-use regulations that aren’t conducive to the development of financially feasible affordable housing. Volunteers are encouraged to push the community’s existing land-use regulations and present a design that will inspire change.”

This year, the property that the team will charrette is the former Conway Recreation property.

The design team will do a walk-through of the property and hold a community forum on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Conway Public Library. The design team will then gather ideas and suggestions from the forum and incorporate these ideas into their design where appropriate.

The final reveal of the design team’s work will be held on Oct. 22, location will be announced at a later date. Public is encouraged to attend.

In addition, a publication detailing the design team’s report will be made public on the WMBR and MWVHC websites. The document will then be presented to the community and elected officials to continue the goal of encouraging growth and change.

Past charrette projects and their resulting plans can be viewed online at mwvhc.org. More information on NAR’s Smart Growth program can be found at nar.realtor.

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