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Green River, UT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: As Epicenter worked to complete its Canal Commons affordable housing development, organizers set out to create an accessible greenspace for future residents. Located in the desert city of Green River, the pocket neighborhood lacks access to walking trails, sidewalks and parks. To address this, Epicenter installed concrete walkways. To allow residents to gather outdoors at night -- and avoid the hot, desert sun -- organizers installed LED lighting along the path. Wayfinding signage helps residents navigate the path, as well as the larger neighborhood. The space also features a picnic table, ADA-compliant benches and raised garden beds. Epicenter prioritized universal design elements for the greenspace to ensure people can age in place at Canal Commons.

Cuba City, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: For more than ten years, Cuba City's planning documents promised an intergenerational gathering space downtown. This project made good on that promise, converting a gravel parking lot into a gathering space. Organizers hoped the Presidential Plaza Project would increase walkability and draw traffic to Cuba City's Main Street business district. To activate the space, volunteers installed a bike rack, outdoor games and picnic tables with umbrellas for shade. A Wi-Fi hotspot provides free internet access for visitors. To beautify the area, residents painted a large mural on the pavement, which pays tribute to frontline workers' contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic. A later addition to the mural depicts the Mississippi river and includes an area for visitors to play hopscotch.

Richmond, VA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To increase residents' access to outdoor greenspace and bolster the local economy, Richmond Venture created the Brooklyn Park Boulevard parklet. Located in a primarily Black-owned business corridor, the mini-park sites in the footprint of an on-street parking space. Volunteers outfitted the space with seating and tables, giving visitors a place to relax and socialize. Organizers say the space encourages residents to purchase food and beverages from nearby restaurants, which they can eat onsite. To encourage people to visit, Venture Richmond also installed a bike rack nearby.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

San Diego, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project helped transform a vacant lot in San Diego's City Heights neighborhood into a vibrant gathering space for residents of all ages. To encourage community members of the dense, diverse neighborhood to connect with each other, the Community Development Corporation installed art at the new public space. Since this activation, the space continues to provide a spot for artists to display their work. Project organizers say although the installation was intended to be temporary, it reinforced the value of creating similar community spaces in the future.

San Diego, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Engaging residents alongside thought leaders in problem solving

Description: To raise awareness about the needs of older adults and the ways communities can be more age-friendly, consumer advocacy organization CARR created boomer.ology, a conversation-starting board game. The game is based on the 8 Domains of Livability framework used by the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. CARR designed the game to be set up at public events. To play, participants move their game pawns across the board based on their answers to a series of questions on housing, transportation, outdoor spaces and buildings, social participation, health and community services, respect and social inclusion, communication and information and civic participation and employment.

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