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Houston, TX

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: To increase walkability and create a safe, beautiful gathering space, Avenue CDC engaged a local artist, local schoolchildren and residents to create a 600-foot mural. The wall selected for the artwork was off-putting and had been vandalized many times. But the site also acted as the entry point to the Northline neighborhood, since the wall faces the nearby light rail station. The mural's design pays homage to local Latino culture and the history of the neighborhood. As the mural reached its completion, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and project organizers were able to repurpose leftover grant funds to help with recovery and rebuilding.

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.

Chickasha, OK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: As part of wider efforts to revitalize Chickasha's downtown, the Chickasha Economic Development Council made several streetscape improvements. To increase foot traffic to local businesses, volunteers decorated crosswalks with pavement art and created a mural. They also installed benches and bike tracks. The branding effort is meant to redefine the town's commercial district and connect it with the surrounding neighborhoods. Project organizers hope to build on the improvements in the future, adding additional public art and pedestrian infrastructure.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Bismarck, ND

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Engaging residents alongside thought leaders in problem solving

Description: For decades, Bismarck has welcomed migrants from across the world, including recent arrivals fleeing Russian invasion of Ukraine. To strengthen ties between immigrant families and the wider community, Bismarck Global Neighbors hosted a meal. The event was part of the New Immigrant Leadership Program, which seeks to identify and empower rising leaders in the local immigrant community. At the meal, program participants hailing from Mauritania, Nicaragua, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Taiwan and Rwanda shared their experiences. Local leaders -- including city and county officials -- were invited to come, listen and use what they learned to make the community more inviting for all.

Bismarck, ND

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Bikeability

Description: Officials in Bismarck wanted to gauge support for a proposed path connecting downtown to the riverfront, dubbed the Bismarck Central Pathway. This project created a temporary path for pedestrians and cyclists, allowing the City to get feedback from residents over several weeks. In addition to connecting existing sidewalks and trails, project organizers used hay bales, traffic cones and paint to block off a portion of the street for pedestrians and cyclists. To get input, they set up kiosks along the path where residents could write about their experience. They also created an online survey. Residents generally supported making the route permanent, as long as pedestrians are protected from street traffic. The City plants to use the feedback to determine the best route for the new path. Project organizers say the pop-up trail also inspired other pop-ups. Since 2017, Bismarck planning staff have tested a road diet, an intersection bump-out project and a one-way to two-way road conversion.

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