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Glenns Ferry, ID

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The City of Glenns Ferry activated a neglected plot of land into a new, multigenerational park, which they named the Oregon Short Line Park. The space was previously the site of another park, which the City removed in 1980, leaving the land to sit in disrepair. Improvements include a new basketball court, a paved area for other games, a shade structure, benches and ADA-accessible swings designed for children, infants, adults and people with disabilities. In addition, the local branch of Future Farmers for America created an interactive musical installment comprised of a playable bell and a beat wall. Located near the city's historic museum, the Oregon Short Line Park is the only park on Glenns Ferry's south side. In the future, the City plans to add landscaping and xeriscaping.

Lynn, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: While downtown Lynn offers shopping and dining, the city offers few recreational opportunities for older adults. To address this, the City of Lynn has made improvements to the downtown district to make the space more appealing to older residents. First, project organizers created a parklet near Lynn Commons, turning an on-street parking space into a mini-park with benches and shade trees. They also made roadway improvements, including adding curb cuts to make sidewalks safer and more accessible. Finally, they worked with a partner organization to hang 80 large-scale murals. Since the improvements, the City launched a series of walking tours featuring the murals, which are installed throughout the community.

Gary, IN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Residents of Genesis Towers -- an affordable housing complex for older adults -- often congregated in a vacant lot in Gary's downtown. This project set out to activate the lot into an accessible gathering space. Local students worked to gather input from residents about their hopes for the new park, and the City held design workshops. Plans for the space featured ADA-accessible walkways, seating, picnic tables and raised garden beds. Organizers also worked to provide free Wi-Fi access in the space, as well as a bike repair station. Organizers say the park is designed to host free or low-cost events -- part of the overarching goal of combatting social isolation through innovative public spaces.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

McAlester, OK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: By activating an underutilized parking lot, the City of McAlester gave residents access to green space in the heart of its historic downtown. Before opening the new park, the City prepared the site, clearing concrete, replacing soil and resolving stormwater drainage issues. Dubbed Arvest Park, amenities there include accessible sidewalks, food truck hookups, bike posts, tables with seating and a water fountain. Project organizers say the park filled a need for gathering space within a commercial area and helps support local businesses. The site often accommodates pop-up business and locals use the green space to gather for lunch and meet up for shopping or errands.

McAlester, OK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Local pickleball enthusiasts helped convert a tennis court at William P. Mullen Park into two pickleball courts. Pickleball, which includes elements of tennis and ping-pong, is popular with older adult players.

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