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Oklahoma City, OK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public place improvements to withstand extreme weather events

Description: An Oklahoma County study showed many residents rely on public water systems that have been cited for health violations. Oklahoma City officials hoped green infrastructure could help resolve water quality issues for downstream communities. So the City converted two flowerbeds in a local park in to rain gardens -- also known as bioswales. During heavy rains, the swales collect stormwater runoff from a nearby parking lot and divert it back into the ground, rather than into the municipal sewer system. This helps remove pollutants before they reach the local watershed. Project organizers say they hope the pilot allows Oklahoma City to become a leader in green infrastructure. They have planned to add more bioswales throughout the community in the future.

Kaunakaukai, HI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

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

Description: This project set up a free, outdoor Wi-Fi hotspot and provided assistance to those trying to connect to the internet. It also offered digital literacy instructions and installed ADA-compliant outdoor furniture.

El Rito, NM

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project upgraded thearea around the library by clearly separating parking from other areas with stanchions. Volunteers also added a sandbox, benches and a bicycle repair station.

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.

Ashland, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: A survey showed residents in Ashland wanted more outdoor seating in the city's downtown. As part of larger efforts to revitalize the commercial district the City worked with Ashland Main Street to install decorative benches. The City engaged teams of artists -- including college students and staff from the local food co-op -- to design artwork for the seating. Then, with the help of volunteers, project organizers then installed one bench on every block of Ashland's nine-block commercial area. Each depicts imagery related to the community's identity, including scenes from local history or ecology. Paying homage to nearby Lake Superior, several benches have a water theme. Project organizers say Ashland is known as the mural capital of Wisconsin, and the benches work with other public art installations to draw people to visit downtown.

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