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See More Grantees Like This One

Beaver Dam, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The City of Beaver Dam wanted to showcase its downtown Mural Walking Tour. To do this, they added benches along the route, allowing visitors to rest and interact with each other. The walking tour showcases 17 historical murals depicting 19th century business operations and notable Beaver Dam residents, including World War II glider pilot Harold Rief and science fiction author Raymond Z. Gallon. The City installed one six-foot-long, accessible bench near each mural on the walk. Additionally, they distributed mural tour maps to businesses and offices downtown. Project organizers report the seating has contributed to more pedestrian activity in the area. They also say the new benches have inspired private donations to purchase seating for other parts of downtown.

Oconomowoc, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This alley activation project turned a stark passageway between the lakefront and downtown retail into a livelier pedestrian link. Project organizers added a painted design on the pavement and constructed trellises to provide shade. The City chose not to close the alleyway during the transformation work. Instead, passersby were invited to lend a hand to the rejuvenation process by painting a faux floor tile (or several). This also allowed visitors to ask questions about the transformation happening before their eyes. The project sparked conversations about how to activate the other downtown alleys, each with its own unique look and distinctive experience. And when the City reconstructed its boardwalk, it borrowed the trellis design used in the alleyway. People now change their routes to experience the walkway, city planner Kristi Weber said. It gets folks to lift their heads up, look around and enjoy some untraditional and unexpected art.

Ellsworth, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Ellsworth's once-bustling East End corridor had declined over several decades, with a 60 percent vacancy rate along Broadway Street. The Local Chamber of Commerce hoped to see the neighborhood rise again as a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use area. To promote its vision, the Chamber commissioned six murals celebrating local agricultural history. They also put up light pole banners and window clings with branding for the neighborhood and added benches, bistro tables and hanging planter baskets along Broadway Street. The Chamber then staged a historical walking tour, which garnered local news coverage and spurred the County historical association to consider designating the East End as an official historic district. In conjunction with these placemaking efforts, the Chamber launched a pop-up program for small businesses opening in the East End. Following that initiative, two of the participating decided to operate permanently in the neighborhood.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Grantees

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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