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Dayton, OH

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: CityWide transformed a vacant lot into a new, more inviting entrance to Welcome Park in Dayton's Carillon neighborhood. The organization cleared overgrowth and dead trees from the site, replaced fencing and installed new informational signs. To give visitors a spot to rest, they placed benches along the park's walking path. CityWide also widened the entrance to conform to Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility standards. Throughout the project, CityWide gathered feedback and ideas from residents. A community-led branding effort informed the design of the park's new sign, as well as a dedication plaque honoring a local advocate. Project organizers say they hope this project serves as a model for meaningful community engagement as the community plans for future park improvements.

Wheatland, WY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: As fewer and fewer residents took up the game, the horseshoe pits in Lewis Park went largely unused. The Town of Wheatland hoped to turn the pits into a more useful space fitting residents' modern tastes. So the Town converted them into pickleball courts. The Town staff worked with volunteers to clear and resurface the space, then install nets, posts, and fencing. To raise money for further improvements -- including seating for spectators -- the Town hosted a fundraising charity onsite. Project organizers say the new courts give people of all ages an option for outdoor exercise. Pickleball is popular with older adults since the fast-paced game is low impact and easy on joints.

Fort Wayne, IN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Bridge of Grace Ministries set out to make the underserved Mount Vernon Park neighborhood safe, walkable and accessible for all. Their effort included physical improvements, including updated landscaping, new porch swings and banners promoting their work. They also conducted a storytelling project, inviting Mount Vernon Park residents to gather and share their personal histories and experiences. Volunteers videotaped the event and featured the stories on YouTube. Participants in the storytelling events reported a profound sense of connection with neighbors and the community.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Cleveland, OH

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Pickleball -- a game that's a combination of tennis and ping pong -- has exploded in popularity. Because of its relatively small court, the sport involves less running, making it gentler on knees and joints than tennis, so it's particularly appealing to older adults. To accommodate demand for playing space, the City of Findlay converted unused, dilapidated tennis courts in Riverside Park into eight new pickleball courts. Bleacher seating onsite enables the new courts to host leagues and tournaments. Project organizers also installed a bulletin board for sharing information, as well as a wind screen to shield players. Since construction completed, City staff report the courts are full nearly every morning.

Cleveland, OH

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority saw an opportunity to revitalize an abandoned volleyball court behind one of their public housing buildings, creating a space to bring residents together and address social isolation. Using input from the residents of Riverview Tower, an apartment building for low-income older adults, they created a garden where residents can grow their own fruits and vegetables. The garden has places to sit and features accessibility features for residents with mobility challenges. Additionally, the space includes sensory areas, which allow visitors to smell, touch and taste herbs, fruits and berries.

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