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Corning, AR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To encourage people of all ages and abilities to walk, this project added ADA-accessible benches along Wynn Park's walking path, as well as at the Clay County Courthouse.

Milton-Freewater, OR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project temporarily transformed an underused parking lot into a town plaza, dubbed Freewater Square. First, the Milton-Freewater Downtown Alliance made repairs to the pavement and added electric and water access at the site. They then purchased outdoor furniture, shade umbrellas and games. Volunteers also built planters and installed a stage for performances. To beautify the plaza, project organizers also held a mural painting competition. After the transformation, the plaza hosted monthly events, including live music, movie nights, community art projects and game tournaments -- all of which gave residents a safe way to socialize during the COVID-19 pandemic. Small buildings host pop-ups, allowing the site the act as a small business incubator. Eventually, MFDA plans to revert the site to a parking lot. But project organizers say they will use ideas from the plaza activation to permanently convert a nearby vacant lot into a community market and activity center.

Baltimore, MD

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project helped prepare the ground for Rachael Wilson Memorial Park, named in honor of Maryland's first woman firefighter to be killed in the line of duty. To clear room for park amenities, Bon Secours Community Works removed two sections of concrete foundation, left over from the foundations of abandoned homes that once sat on the site. Project organizers also planted 30 trees. The new greenspace is the result of a grassroots effort by two longtime West Baltimore residents and advocates. Today, the park features new playground equipment and a mural painted by a local artist, which pays tribute to Rachael Wilson.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Ashland, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Bikeability

Description: Ashland's residents have access to an 11-mile Rails-to-Trails network, making getting around by bike easy. However, the City wanted to ensure cyclists -- regardless of income level, age and ability -- had the tools necessary for bicycle upkeep. The City installed five Bike reapair stations along the trail. Each station includes basic tools, an air pump and bike stand. Additionally, the City published an online manual on fixing and maintaining bikes, which people can access by scanning a QR code at the fix-it station.

Bayfield, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Accessibility of amenities

Description: The North Pike Creek Wetlands is a 410-acre natural habitat located along the southern shore of Lake Superior. To help visitors with disabilities enjoy nature, Friends of the North Pike Creek Wetlands installed a wheelchair-accessible walkway. The path connects the wetlands' parking area to a pavilion and boardwalk. Project organizers say finishing the walkway prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was serendipitous because it accommodated thousands of visits from those looking for a safe space to enjoy the outdoors. Organizers also say the county has plans to replicate accessibility features in other nature areas.

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