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Schenectady, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project enlivened an empty lot downtown with murals, ADA-compliant benches, lighting and tables featuring game boards.

Albuquerque, NM

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The weekly La Familia Growers Market in the Dolores Huerta Gateway Park provides South Valley residents with locally grown produce. To support the market's role as a culturally significant gathering space, project organizers purchased tables, chairs, a storage shed and cafe-style lights. They also procured materials to construct a horno -- a traditional outdoor oven made of adobe. Since then, the market has hosted free weekly musical performances and traditional cooking workshops, as well as the La Familia Growers Market Harvest Festival, attended by more than 500 people. In addition, project organizers conducted interviews with older community members - part of an oral history project.

Lebanon, NH

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To assess the housing stock in 67 municipalities in New Hampshire and Vermont, the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission launched its Keys to the Valley Website. Grant funds supported website management and efforts to promote its use. The website includes an open data portal, where site visitors can engage with regional housing data, read personal stories, view maps and use interactive tools for analysis. Aerial and ground photography highlight the different types of housing across the region. Project organizers hope the website will highlight each community's unique housing needs, as well as features such as proximity to grocery stores and hospitals. To promote the site, commission staff created a video, launched a newsletter, attended public engagement events and talked with residents about the Keys to the Valley initiative.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Louisville, KY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project made a series of placemaking improvements to the Woodlawn Avenue business district, located in the Beechmont neighborhood. First, the Center for Neighborhoods added pedestrian-level lighting along the street to improve safety. They also converted three parking spaces into an outdoor cafe space. Originally meant to be temporary, the picnic area's popularity spurred project organizers to create Louisville's first permanent parklet in the spot, which includes a deck, seating, a green wall and planter boxes. Beautification efforts also included activating a nearby alleyway. That included painting a mural for the space, which community members named Beechmont Alley. New, accessible parking spaces helped make the corridor more welcoming to people of all ability levels.

Louisville, KY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: At a width of 150 feet, Louisville's Ninth Street had the feel of a thoroughfare. To improve the street's safety and aesthetics, Louisville Metro Government upgraded sidewalks, painted bars to make crosswalks more visible to drivers and changed signals to give pedestrians more crossing time. To give people a space to rest, they added benches to an underused green space in the median, the site of an existing sculpture. Doing so created a public space for residents declared that a place to sit and rest in the area was one of their preferred amenities. Organizes say the project has sparked conversations about how to continue improving the pedestrian experience on Ninth Street. Louisville is now exploring adding bike lanes, as well as bump-outs to make crossing distances smaller. We want to redesign this corridor with people in mind and not just cars, Gretchen Millikin, director of advanced planning, said.

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