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Sacramento, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: This project will transform a park by staging a vibrant pop-up community celebration and organizing workshops where older adults can become involved in decisions about how to improve their community.

Austin, TX

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, Austin's Healthy Streets program closed streets to vehicle traffic in several residential neighborhoods. This enabled neighbors to go for walks and ride bikes without needing to dodge traffic. To help residents become advocates for slow streets, project organizers held online meetings with neighbor groups to teach them effective ways to share their opinions with City leadership. Local artists also created street murals to decorate the low-traffic spaces. This ultimately helped keep Healthy Streets alive -- the Transportation Department announced it would wind down the program due concerns about cost and staff capacity. But community advocates documented the benefits of the street closures and urged the city council to keep the project. In 2021, the council voted in to make the program permanent. Project organizers also created a report with best practices to help other communities replicate open streets projects.

Jackson, MS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: To recast public spaces for people rather than vehicle traffic, the City of Jackson launched an Open Streets initiative. First, the City installed a parklet -- a small park that fits in the footprint of a parking space. The parklet is just one component of us trying to make Congress Street more pedestrian-friendly. This street was a very automobile-oriented street. It was very traffic heavy. It was very busy, urban designer Travis Crabree said. The City painted a mural onsite. To demarcate the space, project organizers also painted vibrant blue dots along the street, demarking it as a place to gather. Additionally, the City purchased picnic tables and flexible furniture, which it set out in Smith Park. Local organizations -- such as the Parks and Recreation Department -- can now use the furniture for downtown events.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Pepeekeo, HI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Walkability

Description: This project will engage volunteers to conduct walk audits along a dangerous highway to identify appropriate crosswalk, walk and bike path improvements.

HI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Addressing community health

Description: At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Robin Bush stayed home, alone except for her cat. Fortunately, Bush and more than 100 additional kupuna (the Hawaiian term for grandparent or elder) found a way to develop intergenerational connections through Purpose Pals. A partnership between Hawaii's Afterschool Alliance, Age-Friendly Honolulu, Blue Zones Hawaii, and AARP, the program has matched more than 100 kupuna with young adults ages 18-24. The pairs socialize during regularly scheduled video and phone calls. The initiative takes personal interests, skills, life stories and experiences into account when making matches. Participants can then talk about anything, from favorite recipes to career advice to current events. We looked for ways to promote social connectedness and, in particular, create a more age-friendly community by fostering friendships across generations, Purpose Pals organizer Christy Nishita said.

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