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Bessemer, MI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Bikeability

Description: Officials in Bessemer, located on the western end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, wanted to promote biking while beautifying their city. To do this, they installed 12 bike racks, each featuring decorative tops made of colored glass. The racks make cycling easier for residents, allowing them to ride their bikes for exercise and to run errands. The project was part of a larger city bike plan that included painting stripes for bike lanes the city's busiest roads. Since installing the bike racks, Bessemer has continued to support biking. In 2020, work began on a 1.5 million upgrade and extension of the Iron Belle Trail, which connects Bessemer with nearby communities.

Greenville, SC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Bikeability

Description: This project set up six workbenches, complete with tools, to allow riders to do their own repairs at a local bike shop. It also created videos and compiled those on YouTube to aid the amateur mechanics.

Las Cruces, NM

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Bikeability

Description: To make its downtown more bike-friendly, the Downtown Las Cruces installed 40 bike tacks. Based on feedback from the local cycling community, project organizers painted the racks racer green. Engagement with local business owners and volunteers determined the best locations to place the racks. In the future, Downtown Las Cruces expects placemaking efforts to continue with new shade sails. The City of Las Cruces also has plans for a new green path to facilitate biking and walking.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Henderson, NV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: This project created Henderson's first public community garden. Originally a demonstration garden with six raised beds, the City converted the plot at Heritage Park Senior Facility the guidance of Garden Farms of Nevada, whose mission is to help desert communities learn how to grow their own food. Improvements included new drip-irrigation tubing and fresh topsoil. Project organizers say a key goal was fostering community and giving older adults a change to socialize. In February 2020, the City held a planting party. After that, older adults began to meet at the garden, where they learned to grow produce to share with their neighbors. Although gardening activity paused during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City was able to harvest and donate crops to Henderson's Senior Grocery Program, which distributed the produce to local older adults.

Henderson, NV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: As part of efforts to revitalize the Army Street corridor, the City of Henderson commissioned murals to decorate concrete benches along a pedestrian thoroughfare. The City hoped the 12 colorful benches would draw visitors to downtown businesses, including the Purple Penguin Snowcone Shack and City Lights Art Gallery. Today, the murals offer pedestrians -- and other visitors to the Downtown Senior Center -- a popular spot to snap a photo or sit down and rest. Project organizers say the art installations also sparked the City to develop its Arts and Culture Master Plan. And in the years since, funding for public art in Henderson has increased, resulting in 10 new mural installations.

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