Click here to learn about the 2024 AARP Community Challenge — and apply by March 6, 2024.

See More Grantees Like This One

Northfield, VT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: Northfield Common Connections wanted to start a community dialogue about local walkability and pedestrian infrastructure. The organization set out to evaluate the pedestrian environment in Northfield. First, Northfield Common Connections conduced a walk audit. Volunteers traveled by foot through town and evaluated streetscape features that made walking easy or difficult. Additionally, the organization also conducted a survey of pedestrian activity, observing how passersby navigated the street. As a result of their evaluation, organizers decided to paint a walk-bike lane through town. To shield path users from vehicle traffic, volunteers installed delineators along the route. Playful wayfinding signage helps residents navigate the path and organizers added benches to give people a resting place. Organizers say the effort was especially important since the path serves a neighborhood that suffered economic impacts after a hurricane, connecting residents with needed amenities downtown.

Swanton, VT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: As part of efforts to redevelop its downtown, the Village of Swanton has worked to makes streets more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. To build community support, the Village staged a one-day traffic calming demonstration. Using hay bales and planters, the community created a barrier to separate the village's parking area from travel lanes, which successfully slowed down vehicle traffic. They also created bump-outs to shorten the distance needed to cross the street and make pedestrians more visible to passing drivers. During the pop-up, residents had the opportunity to make suggestions for long-term streetscape improvements. Following the demonstration, the Village planted trees along busy streets as a traffic calming measure. The Village also established a task force to look at other opportunities for future demonstration projects to test street infrastructure improvements.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Grantees

Washington County, VT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Community Health and Economic Empowerment

Description: To help homebound older adults engage in the visual arts, the Central Vermont Council on Aging delivered creative care kits to residents of Washington, Orange and Lamoille counties. The kits contained art supplies and instructions. For example, one included paper, watercolor paints and a guide to making color choices. Volunteers also checked in on kit recipients, with many participants joining video calls to share their creative work. In 2022, the Council on Aging launched a second year of the initiative, and provided tablets, internet access and tech support to older adults taking part. The program's popularity led to partnerships with the Vermont Arts Council and Meals on Wheels to provide kits to more people.

Montpelier, VT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To provide a place for cyclists and walkers to rest and socialize, this project developed a pocket park along an existing bike path. Guertin Pocket Park features a pergola -- a wooden structure with a roof -- to provide shelter from the sun or rain. Project organizers also incorporated seating and bike racks, as well as a rainwater collection system that feeds a small decorative garden. In 2021, the city decided to move the pocket park to a new location in the heart of downtown.

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