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Fort Wayne, IN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: To encourage walking, cycling and other forms of active transportation, Active Living Indiana worked with Team Better Block to install a temporary traffic-calming plaza on Columbia Avenue. Located near Fort Wayne's greenway, the site featured blue-and-white crosswalk striping, public art installations, foliage and a temporary, bright purple bike path offset from traffic by cones. In order to show residents how changes to the streetscape can make walking safer, the organizations also hosted an event promoting active communities. There, attendees could take in live music, enjoy local food vendors, play street games and experience the traffic calming interventions in-person. Project organizers say they hope the pop-up demonstration will be a springboard for more permanent street redesigns in the future.

Menlo Park, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Expansion and enhancement of transportation options

Description: This project expanded a program providing reduced-cost rides for older adults via ride-hailing services into the northern reaches of San Mateo County.

Bessemer, MI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Bikeability

Description: Officials in Bessemer, located on the western end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, wanted to promote biking while beautifying their city. To do this, they installed 12 bike racks, each featuring decorative tops made of colored glass. The racks make cycling easier for residents, allowing them to ride their bikes for exercise and to run errands. The project was part of a larger city bike plan that included painting stripes for bike lanes the city's busiest roads. Since installing the bike racks, Bessemer has continued to support biking. In 2020, work began on a 1.5 million upgrade and extension of the Iron Belle Trail, which connects Bessemer with nearby communities.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Buffalo, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Innovative home maintenance, repair and support services

Description: To help low-income families rehabilitate their homes, Habitat for Humanity Buffalo held a series of construction skills trainings. Designed to reach people without a background in construction, the workshops focused on plumbing and electrical work. Project organizers say these education efforts ensure individuals are empowered to undertake critical home repairs. Additionally, the nonprofit wanted to help its volunteers understand the communities they serve. To do this, the organization hosted training sessions on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Organizers report the sessions informed Home Team volunteers about the history of low-income communities and reinforced the importance of Habitat's mission to construct affordable housing.

Buffalo, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Developing projects based on residents' priorities

Description: To reinvigorate three historically Black, east-side neighborhoods and foster community, LISC launched its Pride in Place Buffalo initiative. The organization created an interactive website mapping arts and cultural institutions. Following community engagement sessions to identify appropriate sites for the discovery map, project organizers compiled a list of cultural landmarks, nature and parks, transportation hubs, public art installations and other local anchors. The also site helps community members locate activities and resources, including self-guided walking and bicycling tours, food distribution resources and more. The map basically creates a home base -- a virtual home base -- for communities that sometimes get forgotten, sometimes don't feel like their voices are being heard, web developer Marquis Burton said. In addition, LISC installed 20 idea boxes -- decorated by local artists -- for residents to leave their feedback about what they would like to see in the community.

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