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Hattiesburg, MS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Duncan Lake Park in Hattiesburg's East Jerusalem neighborhood is popular with residents, yet many of the park's amenities were in disrepair. To give the park new life, Hattiesburg Landmark Preservation refurbished picnic tables with new tops featuring painted checkerboards. They also installed new benches, added a wheelchair-accessible sidewalk and created two murals depicting native plants and animals. Today, the park hosts free arts programming for residents of all ages.

Malad City, ID

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: This project will build regulation-size outdoor pickleball courts for use by local residents, providing a popular recreational form for exercise to people aged 50.

Tucson, AZ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: City officials set out to revitalize the underused Francisco Elias Esquer Park, located around the corner from a large public housing community for older adults in Tucson's Barrio Blue Moon neighborhood. To address the needs of locals with disabilities, volunteers installed a wheelchair accessible walking path, benches and a dog comfort station for service animals. They also added passive water harvesting basins to draw birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife. At a planting party for community members -- one of several events to publicize the new amenities -- neighbors spent a day digging in the dirt and enjoying a renewed sense of community.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Blytheville, AR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Accessibility of amenities

Description: This project added new curb ramps suitable for wheelchair users in the downtown area.

Memphis, TN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: The City of Memphis hoped to encourage residents of the Crosstown neighborhood to walk. They replaced and repaired sidewalks at the Lewis Center, the local senior center. To encourage people to use a new urban walking trail, the City also installed signage directing people to the path. A designated rest stop along the trail includes benches and planters, giving walkers a place to stretch, rest and socialize. Future plans include upgrades to crosswalks at the neighborhood senior center, as well as accessibility improvements at other public facilities and outdoor spaces. The Lewis Center also hopes to convene walking groups, giving older adults the opportunity to exercise in a social setting.

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