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Kokomo, IN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Improved wayfinding

Description: To encourage residents to be more physically active, the YMCA in Kokomo raised their awareness of county trails, parks and other recreational amenities. The YMCA created signs for the city's trolley stops and for its Walk of Excellence Trail. The signs communicate the distance, direction and walking time to local attractions, including parks, the Kokomo Municipal Stadium and the Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center. They also provide information about accessibility for people with disabilities. The project gave the YMCA an opportunity to partner with local stakeholders, such as the city's parks and recreation department and the Indiana University Design Center. Since this effort, the city of Kokomo has continued to promote biking. In 2018, the city launched a free bikesharing program that provides adults and children with bikes, as well as helmets and locks.

Red Bank, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Improved wayfinding

Description: Officials with the Borough of Red Bank hoped to encourage residents and visitors to walk. To do this, the Borough launched Destination Red Bank, an initiative to add wayfinding signage to local streets. The Borough installed decals to the sidewalk, each displaying a QR code. When passersby scan the code with their smartphones, they can access information about local attractions, including directions to reach them by foot. Additionally, the Borough created a parklet -- a mini-part that sits in the footprint of a parking space. They outfitted the downtown gathering space with a picnic table and native plants to give pedestrians and cyclists a place to rest. Project organizers say they will continue to look for innovative ways to make Red Bank more walkable in the future.

Charlotte, NC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Improved wayfinding

Description: Sustain Charlotte hoped to build enthusiasm for the concept of ten-minute neighborhoods -- places where people can meet their daily needs without needing to own a car. Based on input from residents of Charlotte's North End, the organization designed and installed 86 wayfinding signs. Each displays a QR code, which visitors can scan with their smartphones to view a map of neighborhood amenities, including parks and recreation centers, schools and public transportation. Following this project, Sustain Charlotte has continued its relationship with North End residents. The North End Community Coalition now serves on the steering committee for the Charlotte Regional Transportation Coalition, which Sustain Charlotte started in 2020. That coalition advocates for equity-centered transportation improvements, which include pedestrian and bike infrastructure. Since then, the City has increased its budget for transportation projects to make biking and walking safer.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Winnemucca, NV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: A large community garden in one of Winnemucca's parks had fallen into disrepair. But organizers with Age- and Dementia-Friendly Winnemucca saw the space's potential and set out to revitalize the community space. Organizers wanted to make the garden accessible, allowing people with mobility issues to garden while seated, or simply observe others while they work. To achieve this, they installed hip-height raised garden beds onsite. Additionally, they laid down pavers to create smooth surface suitable for people using wheelchairs and walkers. New benches completed the transformation, giving visitors a comfortable space to rest. To ensure the garden remains well cared for, the age-friendly initiative also purchased a weedwhacker for the site, along with a drip irrigation system. Organizers say the project's success inspired local leaders to consider other ways to improve the park.

Winnemucca, NV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Part of larger efforts to develop a new park in Winnemucca's Whitworth Recreation Complex, the local age-friendly initiative County set out to provide residents with outdoor exercise options. They created a paved walking trail, which features exercise stations. Organizers prioritized accessibility, ensuring the path's surface was navigable for people using wheelchairs and walkers. Additionally, local organizations added seating and a bus stop onsite. Already home to a playground, splash pad and picnic area, the recreation center supports community health for residents of all ages.

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