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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.

Searsmont, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Trails

Description: This project created new seating, trailhead kiosks with information about the area and new accessible parking spots at an existing riverfront trail.

Stafford, CT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Trails

Description: The Citizen's Advisory Committee partnered with the Town of Stafford to increase recreational opportunities for residents of all ages. To do this, they created the River Walk Trail within Hyde Park. Volunteers worked to construct the trail, excavating the route, installing a fabric barrier and covering it with aggregate stone. The River Walk runs along the Middle River, carrying visitors between Stafford's lively shopping center, past Hyde Park and into nature. This is really about...building a sense of community, said Donna Wright, a member of the Stafford Citizen's Advisory Committee.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Kingwood, WV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Although this project originally set out to expand social activities at Decker's Creek Park, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to pivot. Instead, the Preston County Parks and Recreation Commission made improvements to the park's green space to increase walkability and accessibility for park visitors. They added an accessible picnic table, raised garden beds, trash cans, an information kiosk and a wooden sign for the park. They also planted the garden beds with pollinator-friendly perennials, with plans to invite the local Master Gardeners to use the plots in the future. In addition, the Parks and Recreation Commission painted and replaced boards on the park's pedestrian bridge. Since these upgrades, the Commission reports more visitors to the park, as well as an uptick in youth volunteer service. Recent projects include a new picnic table, outdoor classroom, little free library and bench.

Morgantown, WV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Many older adults in Morgantown do errands on foot. But patrons of the city's senior centers reported they often needed to sit and take a break while walking downtown. Unfortunately, the downtown area lacked suitable seating options. To make the space more welcoming, the City of Morgantown installed accessible benches throughout the business district. Project organizers say the new seating has sparked enthusiasm for additional downtown improvements. Additionally, the seating is allowing more people to walk to local shops, restaurants, doctors' offices and other amenities.

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