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Baltimore, MD

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: Sundays in the Street was originally a proposal to close two busy streets to vehicle traffic -- for only two Sundays each month. But after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Baltimore, the car-free experiment became permanent. Project organizers set out bollards and large planters to block off two streets in the Fells Point neighborhood, turning the area into an open-air plaza. This created space for children to play, older adults to stroll and residents to gather safely. The site hosted outdoor dining, kids' activities and live music. Already underway in the spring of 2020, the initiative gave Baltimore a jump start and provided a model for other communities dealing with COVID-19 shutdowns.

Anchorage, AK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Folker Park is a 2-acre urban forest located within the city of Anchorage. The park is adjacent to intergenerational living facilities and in the past was used by people of all ages. However, many of the park's volunteer caretakers have stopped routine maintenance, leaving many areas overgrown and essentially unusable. To improve the park, the Anchorage Park Foundation installed six outdoor musical instruments, a reflexology footpath, a healing maze and age-accessible fitness equipment. They also gathered volunteers to weed garden beds, pick up trash and plant flowers. Today, the park a central hub for the community once again, and a source of pride for residents.

Clarion, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: A dilapidated, abandoned building sat in the heart of Clarion's downtown business district. But city officials were concerned demolishing the building would result in a missing tooth -- a vacant lot not conducive for redevelopment. The City made the difficult decision to tear down the building, but rather than leave the site empty they turned the space into a pocket park. Equipped with accessible picnic tables and new trees, bushes, planters and attractive grasses, the new green space gives residents easy access from a parking lot to the shops and restaurants on Central Avenue.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Little Rock, AR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Engaging people in transportation options/safety

Description: When state transportation officials asked Arkansans why they don't bicycle more, the answer was clear: Because they did not feel safe. To address this, the City of Little Rock worked to educate drivers about road safety best practices. The City developed a two-hour training -- the Friendly Driver Certification Program -- modeled after a similar program in Fort Collins, Colorado. "Twenty years ago, we didn't have any bike lanes, pedestrian hybrid beacons or other new types of facilities to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe," program coordinator John Landosky told Little Rock Soiree. "That infrastructure is only useful if drivers know what to do around it." Since its launch, the class has educated more than 500 participants, with nearly six in ten saying it made them more confident in walking or biking. The City says the training also helped lay a foundation for its Complete Streets bike plan.

Little Rock, AR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: This project will support socially-disadvantaged small farmers aged 50 in a rural area by installing a greenhouse, sharing germinated plants and providing a prep station with equipment to clean and package produce.


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