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Harrisburg, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Vacant lots in Harrisburg's Allison Hill neighborhood -- which make up about a third of the neighborhood's land area -- were overgrown with weeds and debris, attracted crime and often served as illegal dumping sites. To address this, the Tri County Community Organization set out to clean up eight lots. Volunteers cleared the sites of debris, installed fencing and planted low-maintenance grass that only grows to six inches in height. This project opens up the space so that there's no place to hide for crime, so this project really helps to bring beauty to the neighborhood, Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator Donnell Brown said. Now that the lots are cleaned up, project organizers hope the spaces will help raise property values, as well as provide residents with a gathering space.

Devens, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: As part of larger efforts to create a community space that honors veterans, Clear Path for Veterans added Adirondack chairs and tables to the Devens Memorial Courtyard. Project organizers hope the space offers visitors the opportunity to sit and quietly reflect on those who have served the nation. The new seating is also set up to facilitate private, face-to-face mental health and integrative wellness coaching sessions -- ensuring veterans and their health care providers had a safe, outdoor space to meet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since installing the seating, Clear Path for Veterans has used the courtyard to host meetings with veterans and mental health professionals, as well as community meals and vaccination clinics.

Kansas City, KS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Kansas City's Rosedale neighborhood has lacked a community center for some time, so the Rosedale Development Association renovated and reopened a community meeting space. They added flooring, a barrier-free threshold to provide easy access for people with mobility limitations and a wall anchor system for displaying art and historical artifacts The space now hosts community events, including coffee and conversation meet-ups, adult education classes, yoga sessions and youth activities.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Des Moines, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Expansion and enhancement of transportation options

Description: To expand transportation options to more residents, this project created a call center. This allows older adults who don't own smartphones to access rides hailing services by phone -- something previously only possible through an app. To further help residents get around, Aging Resources provides older adults with up to eight free rides each month.

Des Moines, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Accessory dwelling units, tiny homes and manufactured housing

Description: After the City of Des Moines updated its zoning to allow accessory dwelling units, HOME constructed the city's first ADU as a how-to demonstration for residents interested in building their own. After working with the City's planning and zoning department, the organization built the ADU on a vacant lot in the Oak Park neighborhood. The small, detached unit demonstrates an affordable housing option with benefits for a range of residents, from those who want to downsize but remain in their neighborhood, to families who need space for an aging parent, nanny or caregiver, to those looking to earn rental income. To garner community interest, HOME offered community walk-throughs and public viewings of the ADU. More Des Moines residents now have the option to add an ADU to their property. In 2022, the city council passed a measure expanding the areas where ADUs are permitted.

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