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Casper, WY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public or private transit access

Description: The Casper Area Transportation Coalition, the former transit provider for the region, aimed to provide better and safer service to bus riders traveling to and from the Hilltop Center. The bus stop serving those riders -- one of the most heavily-used in Casper -- consisted of nothing but an unprotected bench. To solve this, the Coalition erected a five-foot-by-10-foot shelter at the stop. The project also added a second bench to accommodate more riders. To cover unexpected costs, the coalition obtained a second grant from another organization to take the project over the finish line. In 2021, the City of Casper took over operation of the local bus service.

Orange County, NC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public or private transit access

Description: Many bus stops in rural Orange County lacked shelters or a place to sit. To address this, the Orange County Department on Aging worked with the county's public transportation department to install new seats at 15 bus stops. Designed to maximize space at stops without enough room for a transit shelter, the seats accommodate two people and are attached to the bus stop sign. Project organizers say the seats increase accessibility in rural parts of the county, where no bus stop sign was in place. Following installation of the seats, the public transportation department committed to building permanent bus shelters in high-traffic, rural areas.

Lawrence, KS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public or private transit access

Description: Many of Lawrence's bus stops lacked shelters or seating for waiting riders. As a temporary fix, people left lawn chairs, folding chairs and benches at the bus stops, which locals nicknamed shame benches. The United Way of Douglas County stepped in to install amenities at 15 bus stops, particularly in lower income areas with high ridership. Local youth created art to decorate five existing stops, with students at a local technical school constructing custom-built shelters for another five. Project organizers hope the upgrades make the transit system more accessible to older people, people with disabilities and anyone who can't easily stand on a curb.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Berlin, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: The City of Berlin has eight parks, but only two were well visited. Berlin's Parks and Recreation Department hoped to draw residents to check out the lesser-known locations. To do this, the department held a bench-painting contest. Local Boy Scouts and high school students built six wooden benches and Parks and Recreation Department recruited local artists to paint them. After the benches were completed, the Parks Department placed one in each park. The department then got residents involved, challenging them to hunt for each bench's location and vote on the designs they liked best. After the scavenger hunt, the benches went up for auction. The hunt got residents explore local parks, including ones they might not have previously visited. Inspired by the success of this project, the Parks Department plans to replicate the competition in the future.

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