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Springfield, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public or private transit access

Description: A lack of benches represented a barrier to older adults using Springfield's public transit system. To make waiting for the bus a more comfortable experience, the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority worked with the local parks and public works departments to install ten benches throughout the city. The Authority engaged residents to inform each bench's aesthetics and placement. They tailored the amenities based on each location's historical and design context. In Court Square -- a neighborhood dating to 1636 -- they installed Victorian-style benches. Elsewhere, they chose a more modern look. Organizers hope the new seating encourages people of all ages and abilities to use public transportation.

Westport, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public or private transit access

Description: This project established a fixed-route transportation service for older adults, operating one day per week between common shopping, banking and medical destinations in this rural community.

Carson City, NV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public or private transit access

Description: Organizers at the Brewery Art Center hoped to improve accessibility at a nearby bus stop. So they installed new lighting and benches at the site, allowing more residents to take advantage of public transportation to get them to the Center's events, classes and galleries. Project organizers also worked with the local transportation department to increase transit service hours during the Center's events. These accessibility improvements enabled the Center to offer new programming for older adults, including a rock choir called School of Rock, Senior Years. Additionally, grant funding allowed for the restoration of a mural painted in the 1990s, which depicts the family who ran the Carson Brewery Company.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Louisville, KY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: A neighborhood plan for Louisville's California neighborhood recommended traffic calming interventions to make walking safer for residents. City officials hoped to improve pedestrian access between the local senior center and amenities including a park, gym, church and community center. The City converted three intersections from two-way to four-way, increased the size of stop signs for better visibility, installed speed bumps and painted crosswalks. They also rebuilt a sidewalk to incorporate accessible ramps for those with mobility issues.

Louisville, KY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project made a series of placemaking improvements to the Woodlawn Avenue business district, located in the Beechmont neighborhood. First, the Center for Neighborhoods added pedestrian-level lighting along the street to improve safety. They also converted three parking spaces into an outdoor cafe space. Originally meant to be temporary, the picnic area's popularity spurred project organizers to create Louisville's first permanent parklet in the spot, which includes a deck, seating, a green wall and planter boxes. Beautification efforts also included activating a nearby alleyway. That included painting a mural for the space, which community members named Beechmont Alley. New, accessible parking spaces helped make the corridor more welcoming to people of all ability levels.

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