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Grand Forks, ND

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: As part of its mission to connect the community, the Grand Forks Public Library created an intergenerational music playground on its grounds. A group of older adult volunteers helped select all-weather musical instruments and installed them on a concrete slab. Since the installation, the project has brought adults and children together, demonstrating the value of activating underused public spaces. Additionally, the playground has strengthened the library's relationship with a nearby senior housing community. Project organizers say the musical instruments offer psychological and health benefits for older adults, such as reduced stress, improved mood and greater cognitive skills.

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.

Roundup, MT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The large public space in the Roundup's downtown lacked accessible seating. As part of its historic preservation and economic development work, Roundup Community Partners added picnic tables and benches to the plaza. The new seating is designed to be accessible for visitors of all ages and abilities. The plaza sits on the town's Main Street and project organizers hope the seating helps incentivize residents and visitors to shop and eat downtown.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Lynn, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Walkability

Description: This project will conduct three walk audits to assess challenges that older adults face when accessing a shared-use trail. The organization will work with local stakeholders and city officials to advocate for improvements to increase accessibility and use.

Lynn, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: While downtown Lynn offers shopping and dining, the city offers few recreational opportunities for older adults. To address this, the City of Lynn has made improvements to the downtown district to make the space more appealing to older residents. First, project organizers created a parklet near Lynn Commons, turning an on-street parking space into a mini-park with benches and shade trees. They also made roadway improvements, including adding curb cuts to make sidewalks safer and more accessible. Finally, they worked with a partner organization to hang 80 large-scale murals. Since the improvements, the City launched a series of walking tours featuring the murals, which are installed throughout the community.

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