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St. Johnsbury, VT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: To give residents access to fresh produce, the Vermont Community Garden Network installed garden beds at two affordable housing complexes in St. Johnsbury and Newport. Over several building days, volunteers worked to clear old wood and debris, cut boards to construct the raised beds, fill them with soil and plant garlic bulbs for residents to harvest in the spring. To ensure the crop's success, they also held a demonstration to teach residents how to plant, care for and harvest garlic. In addition to improving residents' physical health through nutritious food, organizers say the gardens will support mental health, too, by combating social isolation. The Network continues to host workshops and provide seeds, tools and other support to gardeners at both housing complexes.

Victor, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Walkability

Description: This project will conduct four walk audits in an area known for heavy automobile traffic, with a goal of providing safer and more accessible opportunities for walking and biking to the village commercial district.

Washington, DC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: This project will create a community garden for low-income older adults, many of whom live in apartment complexes without outdoor space. The volunteer gardeners will grow produce typically used in Latin American cuisine. The crops will then be distributed to members of the community.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Shawnee, OK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: For years, officials in the City of Shawnee heard complaints from residents of the historic Jefferson Terrace neighborhood about vehicles speeding and running the four-way stop sign at an intersection. To reduce vehicle speeds and increase pedestrian safety, the City replaced the ignored stop signs with a mini traffic circle, the first of its kind in Shawnee. The City collected data traffic speeds and volume before and after the circle's installation, which proved that although traffic counts remained the same, vehicular speeds slowed down. The success of the project has inspired Shawnee officials to consider similar traffic calming interventions at other locations.

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.

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