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Logan, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project will turn an underutilized lawn into an accessible public area with the addition of a covered gazebo, seating and an ADA-accessible picnic table.

Ashland, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: A survey showed residents in Ashland wanted more outdoor seating in the city's downtown. As part of larger efforts to revitalize the commercial district the City worked with Ashland Main Street to install decorative benches. The City engaged teams of artists -- including college students and staff from the local food co-op -- to design artwork for the seating. Then, with the help of volunteers, project organizers then installed one bench on every block of Ashland's nine-block commercial area. Each depicts imagery related to the community's identity, including scenes from local history or ecology. Paying homage to nearby Lake Superior, several benches have a water theme. Project organizers say Ashland is known as the mural capital of Wisconsin, and the benches work with other public art installations to draw people to visit downtown.

Sacramento, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2024

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This pop-up placemaking project will transform a parking lot into an outdoor plaza. Volunteers will install accessible benches to accommodate older adults attending planned events in the space.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Kansas City, MO

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: Kansas City's Oak Street was long plagued by high-speed car crashes. This month-long demonstration project put a two-block stretch of Oak Street on a road diet, with a mobility lane replacing one lane of traffic. Cars parked along the street -- as well as new planters -- protect bicyclists, scooter users, skateboarders, rollerbladers and joggers from traffic. The changes maintained all preexisting on-street parking. In fact, the project added two parking spots while also adding parking for 12 bicycles, 25 scooters and a few motorcycles. During the demonstration, vehicle speeds were 10 to 15 miles per hour slower than before. Since the project, the City has invested in parking hubs for bikes and scooters.

Kansas City, MO

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public safety interventions

Description: As part of community placemaking efforts, the Blue Hills Neighborhood Association installed solar pathway lights to Blue Hills-Kissick Park. The pocket park -- created by activating a vacant lot -- is a new addition to midtown Kansas City. Intended to increase safety, the lights allow residents to visit the park after dark. Organizers say the new green space serves as a pilot project, demonstrating how repurposing vacant lots can beautify a neighborhood, cut down on illegal dumping and reduce crime. The Association reports the project also helped them educate residents about the benefits of solar lighting, which include reduced electric bills.

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