See More Projects Like This One

Omaha, NE

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: To activate a city-owned vacant lot in North Omaha, the City of Omaha installed accessible planters -- built by a local community gardening organization -- that accommodate gardening from a standing or sitting position. A local artist worked with local elementary school children, helping them create murals depicting their aspirations. In addition, the project included a community chalk wall, where residents can leave inspiring messages. To improve a nearby bus stop, the City purchased installed benches. The art and new outdoor furnishings were in pace in time for a fall festival at the site, which organizers hope will occur annually.

Wilmington, DE

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: As part of its efforts to turn several vacant lots into the 7th and West Streets Park, the Wilmington Alliance (then known as the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation) created a community garden onsite. The Alliance constructed a storage shed and raised-bed gardens, along with two beds for blueberry and raspberry bushes. The shed has lighting, a community bulletin board and a countertop workspace for gardeners. To offer gardeners expertise and support, project organizers also recruited a neighbor to serve as farmer-in-residence. During planning for the new park -- located on a remediated brownfield site -- residents specifically requested a vegetable garden. Today, the garden makes up one-third of the park. The green space has become a staple in the community, and the neighbors have embraced the opportunities the garden presents, said Laura Semmelroth, director of creative placemaking.

Albany, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: The Underground Railroad Education Center constructed an accessible, indoor garden in the Arbor Hill neighborhood, whose residents lack access to fresh produce and gardening space. Designed for year-round use, the new hoop house represents an intergenerational collaboration between younger and older adults. Local teenagers created and installed planters and now help grow food there. Albany businesses and volunteers also contributed to the project by building benches for the site. Today, the Center grows produce, such as lettuce, in the greenhouse, which it donates to people in the community.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Batavia, IL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Engaging people in transportation options/safety

Description: Local officials and community organizations hoped to increase pedestrian and bicycle traffic in downtown Batavia. To do this, the Batavia Environmental Commission, Batavia Bicycle Commission, the WellBatavia Initiative and Batavia Maitreet undertook a research and promotional campaign. They hosted a walk and bike audit that taught residents urban biking skills, such as how to load a bike onto a public bus. The initiative then paired participants with residents of a local retirement community, as well as with families with small children, to help them learn about biking. The group produced a 15-minute video documentary presenting the town's history, showcasing its pedestrian and bike infrastructure and highlighting the need for future improvements. In 2022, Batavia announced it would create a bicycle and walking plan to improve city trails and make intersections safer.

East St. Louis, IL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: As part of its efforts to boost public transit use and spart economic development around transit stations, Citizens for Modern Transit activated the Emerson Park light rail and bus station in East St. Louis. To choose a theme for the station and ensure the new amenities would meet the community's needs, project organizers held design workers and other community engagement events. They then installed new seating, shade structures and a sound system to pipe music into the space. A local artist collaborated with community members to create pavement art and a mural, which pay tribute to the area's musical history. Organizers say they hope the new space promotes creative play, cultivates community and encourages people to ride public transit.

LEARN MORE AND STAY INFORMED

Find articles and resources about making communities more livable for people of all ages

people icon

Download or order free publications from AARP Livable Communities

download icon

Sign up for the free, weekly, award-winning AARP Livable Communities eNewsletter

mail icon

Don't see your community listed?

LEARN HOW IT CAN JOIN THE NETWORK

Connect with your AARP State Office

AARP has offices in all 50 states as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

AARP Illinois State Office

222 N. LaSalle Street
Suite 710
Chicago, IL 60601
United States

Phone: 866-448-3613
Fax: 312-372-2204
Email: [email protected]