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See More Grantees Like This One

Metuchen, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To create a gathering spot near the city's center for older adults, this project transformed two downtown parking spaces into a parklet with planters, seating and a table decorated with a mosaic.

Metuchen, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Businesses in Metuchen's downtown struggled during pandemic-related shutdowns in 2020. To help with their recovery and resilience, the Metuchen Downtown Alliance made investments in public outdoor spaces, turning a block of New Street into a pedestrian oriented New Streetery. After the Borough Council voted to ease zoning requirements, the Alliance converted street parking spaces into parklets. This created outdoor space for businesses -- including restaurants, shops and fitness studios -- to operate safely. To accommodate diners, the Downtown Alliance purchased over 100 tables with chairs, as well as infrared heaters and lighting. In the summer months, New Street closed to vehicle traffic on weekends, with partial street closures continuing into the winter. Project organizers say that although COVID-19 has since waned, walkability and outdoor dining remain part of Metuchen's downtown culture.

Jersey City, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To give residents at Marion Gardens the opportunity to gather, project organizers beautified a concrete area onsite. Residents of the public housing complex came together to plant trees, shrubs and flowers in an area of the property prone to flooding, with the new foliage acting as green infrastructure to absorb rainwater. To ensure care of the new trees long-term, project organizers also created a tree maintenance manual with pruning techniques and other tips. Since the planting, organizers have worked to plan a mural at the site.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Grantees

Berkeley Heights, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Improved wayfinding

Description: Officials with the Berkeley Heights Township have long worked to encourage residents to walk. To that end, an award-winning master plan focuses on making the community more pedestrian-friendly. To better inform people about local walking trails, the Township created the Trailblazer project. The wayfinding initiative installed sign kiosks at four locations, including the municipal complex, two parks and the community YMCA. Each displays maps of the township and its trails and provides paper copies for passersby to take with them.

Bloomfield, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Engaging people in transportation options/safety

Description: To identify challenges facing pedestrians, the Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services conducted a walk audit. They invited community members to travel through town on foot, logging street features that made walking feel unsafe. Additionally, the Department held public meetings to gather community input. These community engagement efforts resulted in several recommendations to improve walkability. In response, the Department launched its WALK Bloomfield program, which established walking routes meant to be safe and enjoyable. As part of that initiative, the Township installed JobClocks -- special electronic devices -- in seven locations about Bloomfield. This allows walkers carrying a fob to automatically log the time it takes to walk from one JobClock to the next. Overall, organizers hope the efforts grow a pedestrian culture in Bloomfield.

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