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Bath, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Organizers with Age-Friendly Communities of Lower Kennebec and City of Bath hoped to create inclusive public spaces for residents of all ages to enjoy. They worked with students to install outdoor chess and checkers tables at a new downtown plaza and a near a local assisted living facility. The tables are ADA accessible include benches designed for people of all ages and abilities. A spectator bench allows onlookers to take a seat and watch the players. To ensure all community members can play, game sets are available for loan at the local library and nearby businesses.

Viroqua, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project turned a portion of the library into an aviary and conducted classes on birdwatching there and at other sites, including Side Hollow Park.

Milton-Freewater, OR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project temporarily transformed an underused parking lot into a town plaza, dubbed Freewater Square. First, the Milton-Freewater Downtown Alliance made repairs to the pavement and added electric and water access at the site. They then purchased outdoor furniture, shade umbrellas and games. Volunteers also built planters and installed a stage for performances. To beautify the plaza, project organizers also held a mural painting competition. After the transformation, the plaza hosted monthly events, including live music, movie nights, community art projects and game tournaments -- all of which gave residents a safe way to socialize during the COVID-19 pandemic. Small buildings host pop-ups, allowing the site the act as a small business incubator. Eventually, MFDA plans to revert the site to a parking lot. But project organizers say they will use ideas from the plaza activation to permanently convert a nearby vacant lot into a community market and activity center.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Readfield, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Readfield's Age-Friendly Committee set out to enhance the town's public spaces and draw the community together. They purchased outdoor furniture to activate two spaces -- one outside the local public library and the other at Readfield Beach on Maranacook Lake. The beach's moveable Adirondack chairs give visitors a change to interact with each other. Additionally, the tables and chairs at the library allow residents to access free Wi-Fi service, even when the library building is closed. Library visitors of all wages can also rest there after enjoying the nearby story walk.

Wayne, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: The downtown area of Wayne, Maine, appears suddenly to drivers traveling along Route 133, a busy state highway. Because of curves in the road and a hill, pedestrians crossing Main Street often aren't visible to drivers until the last second. Logging trucks and other large trucks race through town, barely slowing down as they do, said Stan Davis, chair of the community's aging-at-home committee. To make pedestrians more noticeable, Aging at Home installed flashing Reduce Speed at either end of Wayne's downtown area. The town also purchased portable pedestrian crossing signs. Spurred by the success of the improvements, they plan to continue advocating for sidewalks in central Wayne to make walking even safer.

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AARP Maine State Office

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Suite 202
Portland, ME 04101
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Phone: 866-554-5380
Fax: 207-775-5727
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