Click here to learn about the 2024 AARP Community Challenge — and apply by March 6, 2024.

See More Grantees Like This One

Beaver Dam, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The City of Beaver Dam wanted to showcase its downtown Mural Walking Tour. To do this, they added benches along the route, allowing visitors to rest and interact with each other. The walking tour showcases 17 historical murals depicting 19th century business operations and notable Beaver Dam residents, including World War II glider pilot Harold Rief and science fiction author Raymond Z. Gallon. The City installed one six-foot-long, accessible bench near each mural on the walk. Additionally, they distributed mural tour maps to businesses and offices downtown. Project organizers report the seating has contributed to more pedestrian activity in the area. They also say the new benches have inspired private donations to purchase seating for other parts of downtown.

Oconomowoc, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This alley activation project turned a stark passageway between the lakefront and downtown retail into a livelier pedestrian link. Project organizers added a painted design on the pavement and constructed trellises to provide shade. The City chose not to close the alleyway during the transformation work. Instead, passersby were invited to lend a hand to the rejuvenation process by painting a faux floor tile (or several). This also allowed visitors to ask questions about the transformation happening before their eyes. The project sparked conversations about how to activate the other downtown alleys, each with its own unique look and distinctive experience. And when the City reconstructed its boardwalk, it borrowed the trellis design used in the alleyway. People now change their routes to experience the walkway, city planner Kristi Weber said. It gets folks to lift their heads up, look around and enjoy some untraditional and unexpected art.

La Crosse, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: La Crosse's food forest produces fruit and vegetables for the community, helps absorb stormwater runoff and serves as a communal gathering place. The forest, however, did not have seating along its many paths. To beautify the forest and give visitors a place to rest, the La Crosse Area Family YMCA created artistic benches. Younger people worked with older adult mentors to design, assemble and decorate each bench. Many pay homage to the forest, featuring images of plants and vegetables. Project organizers say the public art effort fostered intergenerational cohesion, and residents consider the new benches to be source of community pride.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Grantees

River Falls, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: The grant will fund safety improvements at a major intersection and demonstrate traffic calming interventions such as high-visibility crosswalk markings and an auditory response system.

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AARP Wisconsin State Office

222 W Washington Avenue
Suite 600
Madison, WI 53703
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Phone: 866-448-3611
Fax: 608-251-7612
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