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Bethel, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To provide residents with places to sit and gather, the Bethel Age-Friendly Community partnered with local artists and craftspeople to create benches and picnic tables. As a thank-you to organizations that have supported age-friendly work in the region, organizers gave the seating to partner organizations who assist with age-friendly programming, events and volunteer efforts. The benches and tables now sit in each of the six towns that make up the Bethel region. Each table is adorned with a chess board and each bench features decorations that pay homage to the town where it sits, with volunteers chipping in to paint the furniture. Organizers say they hope the project demonstrates the value of simple public space enhancements.

Moulton, AL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To revitalize Moulton's downtown area, Moulton Lions Club created parklets, a mural and temporary, artistic crosswalks. The mural is located along Bylar Road -- the area's oldest public road -- and showcases the route's history. To Project organizers also outfitted several parklets with movable benches, chairs and umbrellas to increase foot traffic and provide rest and shade during events, including the annual Strawberry Festival. In addition, the Lions Club created artistic crosswalks with sidewalk chalk. Each had a local theme, from educating locals about endangered salamanders to paying homage to local resident Jesse Owen, who competed at the 1936 Olympics. Lions Club organizers says they hope the project will spur residents to consider how art can make public spaces more appealing.

Martin, SD

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: A pocket park and community garden in Martin had fallen into disrepair, but organizers with South Dakota State University Extension hoped to breathe new life into the space. They engaged volunteers to paint the Hope Garden's pergola and remove broken picnic tables, replacing them with new, accessible tables. Additionally, they repaired the garden's drip irrigation system, installed a trash can and added a portable handwashing station. A local artist also painted a mural onsite and new solar lights make the mini-park feel safter at night. Project organizers say the Hope Garden will offer a space for community events and educational offerings. They say improvements to the site helped make the space more sustainable and welcoming to community members.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Orofino, ID

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project will install ADA-compliant benches to improve walkability and create opportunities for multigenerational interaction.

Lapwai, ID

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Public spaces improvements to increase high-speed internet availability

Description: This project will create a covered bus stop equipped with Wi-Fi outside a local library, as well as an indoor gathering space focused on the audio, visual and mobility needs of older adults.

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