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Cuba City, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: For more than ten years, Cuba City's planning documents promised an intergenerational gathering space downtown. This project made good on that promise, converting a gravel parking lot into a gathering space. Organizers hoped the Presidential Plaza Project would increase walkability and draw traffic to Cuba City's Main Street business district. To activate the space, volunteers installed a bike rack, outdoor games and picnic tables with umbrellas for shade. A Wi-Fi hotspot provides free internet access for visitors. To beautify the area, residents painted a large mural on the pavement, which pays tribute to frontline workers' contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic. A later addition to the mural depicts the Mississippi river and includes an area for visitors to play hopscotch.

St. Louis, MO

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project was part of multi-year efforts to activate transit stations throughout the St. Louis region. Citizens for Modern Transit installed accessible seating, a UV-protective shade and a mural examining local history at the North Hanley Transit Center. Organizers hope the improvements spark economic development by creating a community gathering space and encouraging people to use public transit.

Schenectady, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project enlivened an empty lot downtown with murals, ADA-compliant benches, lighting and tables featuring game boards.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Washington, DC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Capturing data and feedback from residents

Description: The 1882 Foundation hoped to strengthen community identity and increase civic engagement in DC's Chinatown, particularly among older adults. The Foundation designed a digital map featuring stories about places with historical and cultural significance to the neighborhood's longtime community members, including past and present residents and leaders. The Foundation distributed storytelling kits, which included tools to help participants tell their stories by writing and recording audio. Project organizers provided storytellers with bilingual instructions in English and Mandarin. To promote the initiative, the Foundation held a Mid-Autumn Festival event at the Wah Luck House, an affordable housing complex. Organizers say the digital platform will help inform urban planning policies by ensuring community priorities are included in redevelopment proposals for Chinatown.

Washington, DC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Engaging people in transportation options/safety

Description: To increase older adults' mobility, the Capitol Hill Village worked to raise residents' awareness of the local transportation offerings. The nonprofit offered social events and educational programming to teach more than 100 residents how to get around without driving. The trainings covered pedestrian safety and provided older adults with in-depth information on transportation services, including the Metrorail system, Capital Bikeshare and local paratransit service. Project organizers say participants increased their knowledge of and confidence using local transportation options.

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