Click here to learn about the 2024 AARP Community Challenge — and apply by March 6, 2024.

See More Grantees Like This One

Lynn, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The PATIO Parklet program involved installing three modular, portable parklets in downtown Lynn. Parklets transform curbside parking spaces into vibrant community spaces. The ones in Lynn include tables and seating, greenery and public art. Since installing the parklets, Lynn has seen improved street safety, increased foot traffic, more social interactions among residents and new, culturally relevant programming downtown. The parklets have hosted musical performances, sidewalk sales and the Living Room Series -- facilitated bilingual conversations on important local topics. One installation of the Living Room Series gave residents the chance to meet with school committee and city council candidates. Project organizers say the parklet initiative also helped Beyond Walls to deepen its relationship with partner organizations, including Greater Lynn Senior Services and the Lynn Council on Aging.

Boston, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To encourage walking, Boston installed benches in Main Street neighborhood districts across the city. Older adults tested and approved the benches and worked with the City to identify the best locations for them. The initiative's guiding principle was that making walking safe and comfortable for older adults creates a better environment for people of all ages. Project organizers report residents were eager to use the new benches. In fact, as Department of Public Works staff were finishing up an installation, a few people were often waiting to take a seat. The benches contribute to vibrant public spaces near businesses and merchants say they appreciate the increased foot traffic. Project organizers say the installations helped develop a city-wide framework for a sustainable bench program, addressing installation and long-term maintenance.

Dennis, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project installed six raised-bed gardens and two ADA-compliant benches on the Dennis Center for Active Living grounds.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Grantees

Worcester, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Bikeability

Description: To encourage intergenerational cycling, this project created a program that paired twenty teenaged cyclists with twenty older residents and awarded free e-bikes. It also held five bicycle workshops, as well as several group rides.

Springfield, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public or private transit access

Description: A lack of benches represented a barrier to older adults using Springfield's public transit system. To make waiting for the bus a more comfortable experience, the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority worked with the local parks and public works departments to install ten benches throughout the city. The Authority engaged residents to inform each bench's aesthetics and placement. They tailored the amenities based on each location's historical and design context. In Court Square -- a neighborhood dating to 1636 -- they installed Victorian-style benches. Elsewhere, they chose a more modern look. Organizers hope the new seating encourages people of all ages and abilities to use public transportation.

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