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Wilton, NH

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Trails

Description: The Town of Wilton built ADA-compliant walkways along the bank of Souhegan River. The walkways connect restaurants and a veterans park to Wilton's downtown core. Part of planned improvements to the Wilton Riverwalk, the new walkways transformed a preexisting walking path into downtown's first accessible pedestrian route. After the Town secured funding for the improvements, a local telecom company donated an easement for the project. Organizers say Wilton is working to boost its local economy and position itself as a place where people can come to enjoy shopping, ecotourism and cultural events. Part of that effort is remaking the downtown into a walkable environment that caters to pedestrians instead of cars. Since then, the Town has continued revitalization efforts, and recently added a downtown marketplace for local artists and musicians.

Bedford, VA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Trails

Description: The Town of Bedford installed benches, bike racks, signage and trash cans along walking and bike routes, including a path known locally as the Loop, as well as two newer paths. The Town created a map to display in kiosks, which show three different options for walking the paths. Public art was a focus of this project -- the benches and racks were designed by local artists and a local metal fabrication company built them. To include residents in the planning process, the Town held a Design the Sign workshop, where attendees suggested their ideas for sign graphics. An artist then incorporated those suggestions in the final design. Project organizers say improvements to the Loop have brought awareness for the Town's efforts to revitalize the Bridge Street area.

Manchester, NH

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Trails

Description: The local chapter of the Nature Conservancy hoped to make the Manchester Cedar Swamp -- a popular nature preserve within Manchester's city limits -- more accessible to visitors of all ages and abilities. To do this, the group built the 1.2-mile All Persons Trail, which they designed to be level and unsloping. The trail is wide enough to accommodate two wheelchairs or two people with guide dogs. To help people with low vision navigate, project organizers created an audio tour app in English and Spanish. The Conservancy also installed benches and interpretive signs along the path.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Corning, AR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To encourage people of all ages and abilities to walk, this project added ADA-accessible benches along Wynn Park's walking path, as well as at the Clay County Courthouse.

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