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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

Chilton, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The Chilton Public Library was looking to expand its reach beyond the walls of the library building. To give residents an intergenerational activity, library staff installed two bilingual story walks -- one at Chilton Elementary School and the other outside a local nature center. Additionally, the library created two portable story walks, which staff can set up at community events and playgrounds around Calumet County. The walks consist of several display stations installed along a trail or path. Library staff display storybook pages in each kiosk, allowing families to meander along the trail, piecing together the parts of the story as they go. A team of volunteers maintains the story walks, which display books in Spanish and English.

Altoona, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Housing Choice Design Competitions

Description: The City will hold an accessory dwelling unit design competition to promote their use as a housing solution. The competition will include an open house and presentations of design concepts to help educate builders and the broader community about ADUs.

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