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Farmington, NM

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project activated a breezeway in downtown Farmington. The city-owned space was long unused -- it sits in the footprint of a building that burned to the ground in 1914. But since it conveniently connects a parking lot to the town's Main Street, project organizers saw its potential as a convenient passthrough and gathering space. By installing solar-powered string lights, setting out seating and tables and creating a mural on an adjacent building, the City created a pocket park. The city plans to continue to add to the space, creating more seating out of wood from a beloved blue spruce that died and installing raised planter beds. Organizers say they also envision bringing community activities to the pocket park.

Talent, OR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: Through a series of intergenerational workshops, Talent Maker City invited residents of all ages to learn STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) skills, such as carpentry, 3D printing and screen printing. Workshop activities included screen printing shirts for a garden club fundraiser, building bat houses and making pollinator watering dishes. The pollinator theme reflected Talent's designation as a Bee City USA and local interest in pollinator gardens. Although COVID-19 restrictions curtailed the program's full impact, the city's maker space established a partnership with the Talent Garden Club. Future plans include programming to promote Talent as an age-friendly city.

Haigler, NE

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Accessibility of amenities

Description: The Haigler Community Foundation upgraded a restroom in Cornerstone Museum to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessibility. Improvements included adding a Braille sign with accessible symbols, a stool, four grab bars, a new sink and a coat rack. The village uses its museum complex for community activities, including the annual Tumbleweed Festival.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Chicago, IL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To promote walkability, economic development and better quality of life for residents, the Chicago Department of Transportation created a replicable prototype for a People Spot. Consisting of a wooden platform, the People Spots transform on-street parking spaces into outdoor patios. To help neighborhood groups set up their own People Spots, the City published construction plans and an assembly manual for the parklets online. Part of the City's Livable Streets Program, organizers say the temporary infrastructure helps neighborhoods overcome economic hardship by encouraging residents to walk and frequent local businesses. The City installed its first People Spot in the South Side Chatham neighborhood in 2018. That iteration measured about six feet wide by 20 feet long, but the platforms can be as long as 80 feet.

Chicago, IL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: The El Paseo Community Garden in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood added a new gathering space, dubbed El Convivio or The Gathering. The goal of the project was to make the garden more accessible to Latino older adults living in nearby apartment buildings. Improvements to the space include an outdoor kitchen and patio with a fire pit, ADA-compliant seating, walking paths and an accessible planting station. Planters at the site were specifically designed to grow culturally relevant produce, including tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onions. The picnic area's stucco and ceramic tiles mimic designs seen in Mexican haciendas. Garden leaders partnered with nonprofit architectural firm Human Scale to involve garden members in the space's design and volunteers from the neighborhood installed the new amenities. As El Paseo's leadership finalized El Convivio, they also worked with the City of Chicago to secured additional land to expand the garden.

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