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South Portland, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Trails

Description: The Greenbelt Trail, which serves pedestrians and cyclists, crosses several busy streets in South Portland. To make those crossings safer, Age-Friendly South Portland conducted a monthlong tactical urbanism project. They painted road delineators to separate cyclists from traffic, along with high-visibility signage to alert drivers to the crossings. Curb bump-outs decreased the distance needed for trail users to cross the street. While the fixtures were temporary, organizers gathered feedback from residents during the demonstration, which they featured in a presentation to the public works department. Project organizers report the project spurred the City to make permanent changes to one crossing.

Dunellen, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Trails

Description: To make the half-mile trail in Columbia Park more accessible, the Borough of Dunellen installed 12 ADA-compliant benches. Volunteers added mulch around each bench and planted trees, shrubs and pollinator-friendly vegetation, with plaques identifying each plant. They also painted a footbridge connecting the part to a residential neighborhood. The project engaged Dunellen's mayor and Borough Council, along with the Dunellen Shade Tree Commission, the parks and recreation and public works departments, the Dunellen Arts and Culture Commission, the Dunellen Senior Club, the local football team and the Dunellen Municipal Alliance. Since installation, the Borough has seen a 44 percent uptick in trails users, as well as a 50 percent increase in older adults visiting the trail.

Cascade, ID

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Trails

Description: A half-mile section of Cascade's popular Strand Trail was muddy, icy or snowy much of the year. To make it accessible year-round, the City of Cascade leveled and paved the trail's surface. Project organizers also added three new benches and wayfinding signage. The improved trail segment connects two branches of the Strand Trail, which meanders for two miles along the Payette River and offers visitors stunning views of nearby mountains and bird watching and fishing opportunities. Additionally, it extends access to a visitor's center and to Kelly's Whitewater Park, a nonprofit facility serving whitewater rafters, kayakers and paddle boarders. The City is planning to pave another trail section in the future.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Manning, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Developing projects based on residents' priorities

Description: Manning City Hall possesses a collection of important historical artifacts, but because of space constraints, most of them were kept in storage in the building's basement. To allow residents to see the items, the City of Manning installed eighteen glass display cases and placed them throughout the community, creating a reverse museum tour. They distributed brochures explaining how a reverse museum helps display artifacts without the cost of building a standalone facility. The leaflets also give information on the artifacts displayed, which range from small trinkets to World War II nurse's uniforms. Project organizers say the displays have inspired residents to explore their own basements and attics in search of more items to donate. The project also sparked the local library to open a designated room -- dubbed the vault -- to host larger exhibits.

Manning, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Organizers with Manning Main Street hoped to encourage visitors to Manning's vibrant downtown to congregate and socialize. To create an inviting environment, they installed twelve artistic lights along Main Street. Local artisans created the lights, which are comprised of panels featuring cutouts depicting local landmarks, including the town's water tower, trestle bridge and historic Lutheran church. The additional illumination also enhances safety in the area. In the years since, Main Street Manning has focused on streetscaping and has added more art installations downtown.

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