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Scarborough, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: This project enhanced three community gardens, two of which are used exclusively to feedundernourished residents, as well a program that provides supplemental heating assistance and home repairs to older adults.

Anchorage, AK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: Fish Creek Trail is a winding, multi-use path connecting schools, parks and a recreation center in Spenard, one of Anchorage's oldest and most diverse neighborhoods. NeighborWorks engaged six local artists, storytellers and graphic designers to create interpretive panels, which they installed along the trail for residents to view as they walk, ride or roll along. The panels display paintings, watercolors and digital designs, which illustrate participants' personal experiences, family tales, memories of using the trail and a traditional Dena'ina story. Project organizers hope the artwork will generate renewed community pride and celebration.

Gastonia, NC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services beautified a public space near Gastonia's Schiele Museum and the town's library. To encourage residents to get out and walk, the Department added a sidewalk mural at the library, which depicts astronauts on a spacewalk. Museum staff installed an outdoor exhibit about the Solar System. In addition, project organizers commissioned a local metalworks shop to create benches with a celestial theme. Other placemaking enhancements included adding planters and new graphic designs to adorn the nearby transit shelter, as well an amenity map display to help visitors locate nearby trails and greenspace.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Augusta, GA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Organizers with the Augusta Recreation and Parks Department noticed people were driving their vehicles into Henry H. Brigham Park, making park users feel unsafe. This project set out to prevent this, keeping a walking track, basketball court and playground area free from cars and trucks. The Department installed bollards, as well as benches -- which served the dual purpose of giving park patrons a place to rest. Additionally, organizers planted shade trees to make the park more appealing in the summer heat. To draw visitors, the Department also worked to increase recreational programming in the park, including Tai Chi classes.

Augusta, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: To increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine held a series of short-term traffic calming demonstrations in Bangor, North Yarmouth and Bangor. The pop-up installations increased the visibility of crosswalks and shortened crossing distances with simple, cost-effective tools. The Coalition deployed flexible lane delineators and pedestrian-crossing signs. They also painted pedestrian landings at crosswalks and added shared-lane markings -- called sharrows -- to street pavement. To gage the effectiveness of these activities, the organization collected survey responses and traffic data, which showed that traffic speeds decreased and pedestrians appreciated it. Project organizers say the demonstrations helped prove to municipal leaders that streets are for people -- not just people in cars -- and improving safety is possible without complex, expensive road construction.

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