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Hackensack, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Public place improvements to withstand extreme weather events

Description: This project will provide dozens of rain barrels, as well as community education to help address future flooding. The rain barrels will be painted to serve as functional public art.

El Paso, TX

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public place improvements to withstand extreme weather events

Description: As part of its Million Trees El Paso initiative, Eco El Paso planted 88 native and drought-tolerant trees along the Paso Del Norte Trail. In addition, the organization improved wayfinding along the trail, which passes through the city's Thomas Many neighborhood. The City lent a hand in the effort, removing dead trees and making needed irrigation repairs. El Paso has less tree canopy cover than many other communities, with an average of fewer than three trees per acre. Project organizers hope the new trees help cool the neighborhood and combat the urban heat island effect, making walking more comfortable for residents. The City later cited the success of the project in its efforts to secure bond funding for future tree planting efforts.

Oklahoma City, OK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public place improvements to withstand extreme weather events

Description: An Oklahoma County study showed many residents rely on public water systems that have been cited for health violations. Oklahoma City officials hoped green infrastructure could help resolve water quality issues for downstream communities. So the City converted two flowerbeds in a local park in to rain gardens -- also known as bioswales. During heavy rains, the swales collect stormwater runoff from a nearby parking lot and divert it back into the ground, rather than into the municipal sewer system. This helps remove pollutants before they reach the local watershed. Project organizers say they hope the pilot allows Oklahoma City to become a leader in green infrastructure. They have planned to add more bioswales throughout the community in the future.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Gulfport, MS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space improvements to support recovery after extreme weather events

Description: As part of revitalization efforts following flooding from Hurricane Katrina, the City of Gulfport set out to give cyclists and pedestrians a place to shelter from the weather and sun. They installed a 20-square-foot safe-weather pavilion and benches along a new bike trail in Brickyard Bayou Park. The trail connects park visitors to amenities, including an outdoor classroom, dog park and community garden. Organizers report the pavilion project has since inspired other similar structures and trails in Gulfport.

Gulfport, MS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The City of Gulfport hoped to create a venue for educational programming, giving residents the opportunity to learn in nature. To do this, they installed a pavilion to be used as an outdoor classroom. The space serves local schools, as well as members of the wider community. Since installation, the City has worked to complete a nature trail system onsite.


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