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Baltimore, MD

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project helped activate an alleyway by creating an Outdoor Community Library and installed an artistic metal gate to secure it. The Urban Oasis uses the space to host story times with older adults reading to local students.

St. Louis, MO

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project was part of multi-year efforts to activate transit stations throughout the St. Louis region. Citizens for Modern Transit installed accessible seating, a UV-protective shade and a mural examining local history at the North Hanley Transit Center. Organizers hope the improvements spark economic development by creating a community gathering space and encouraging people to use public transit.

Jackson, MS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Part of wider efforts to beautify the South Jackson neighborhood, this project activated several vacant lots, turning them into community gardens, creative market spaces and pocket parks. The revitalization initiative also added seating and landscaping at a bus stop, painted a mural and made repairs to housing subdivision entrances. Community members volunteered to help with the efforts. In recent years, South Jackson has struggled with business closures and vacant housing. In a letter to the community, Coalition Executive Director Bennie Hudson wrote, We must do something about this for ourselves as elders and adults, but even more for our children and youth. In the future, project organizers hope to set up a homeowners association for the neighborhood to support ongoing maintenance and future improvements.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Malvern, AR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: To improve pedestrian visibility and safety, the Malvern-Hot Spring County Library created a colorful crosswalk. Project organizers report the crosswalk has visibly slowed down approaching traffic. A local group -- the Ouachita River Art Guild -- designed and painted the crosswalk with a floral design. Library also worked with local master gardeners to create a pollinator garden and added a story trail. The trail includes sign posts displaying pages from a children's storybook, which can be rotated out as needed to provide visitors with new reading material.

Malvern, AR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Established in 2020, Malvern's Story Trail and Garden is a well-loved feature of the Malvern-Hot Spring County Library. This project expanded the story trail, improving the space with new planters, windproof easels for painting classes and the installation of a butterfly-shaped table and chairs. Additionally, the library distributed nearly 2,000 children's books, with library staff assembling baskets for summer reading program participants.

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