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Woonsocket, RI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project transformed the area outside the Aging Well older adult center into a safe, inviting space for outdoor exercise, as well as a gathering place.

Willcox, AZ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Despite years of neglect, the Heritage Courtyard represents a beloved and beautiful part of Willcox's downtown. To make the space more welcoming to residents of all ages, Willcox Theater and Arts -- whose building is adjacent to the courtyard -- installed benches, bulletin boards and planters. Additionally, a local craftsman constructed a new gateway for the space, which is coated in copper to pay homage to Arizona's mining history. The courtyard contributes to downtown walkability and is first project in the town's Downtown Revitalization Plan, paving the way for future community improvements. The City plans to use the park for special events, exhibits and storytelling activities.

Imperial, NE

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: A vacant lot in the heart of Imperial's downtown had been an eyesore for decades. To put the space to better use, the City of Imperial activated the space, creating a new pocket park. Volunteers helped create several murals onsite and installed a mosaic dragon sculpture, designed to double as a play structure for children. Using upcycled existing picnic tables and railroad ties, they also created a circular seating area, dubbed the chatroom. Local elementary school students and residents of an assisted living facility teamed up to paint tiles to decorate outdoor sectional couch. And volunteers laid down artificial turf -- a material chosen to make the mini-park easy to maintain. Raised flower beds completed the space. Since the mini-park's completion, organizers say community members continue to brainstorm ways to improve the pocket park, which they say has revitalized Imperial's arts scene.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Hillsboro, ND

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Hillsboro is a small town without a school or senior center. Because of this, Buxton City Park features the community's only playground area. To make the playground more welcoming to people of all ages and abilities, the Buxton Park Board installed updated playground equipment and laid down soft landing material. Project organizers say the improvements have made the park an important intergenerational gathering space. The playground and park shelter are now the site of book club and Scouts meetings, celebrations and other community events.

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