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El Paso, TX

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public place improvements to withstand extreme weather events

Description: As part of its Million Trees El Paso initiative, Eco El Paso planted 88 native and drought-tolerant trees along the Paso Del Norte Trail. In addition, the organization improved wayfinding along the trail, which passes through the city's Thomas Many neighborhood. The City lent a hand in the effort, removing dead trees and making needed irrigation repairs. El Paso has less tree canopy cover than many other communities, with an average of fewer than three trees per acre. Project organizers hope the new trees help cool the neighborhood and combat the urban heat island effect, making walking more comfortable for residents. The City later cited the success of the project in its efforts to secure bond funding for future tree planting efforts.

Tucson, AZ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: City officials set out to revitalize the underused Francisco Elias Esquer Park, located around the corner from a large public housing community for older adults in Tucson's Barrio Blue Moon neighborhood. To address the needs of locals with disabilities, volunteers installed a wheelchair accessible walking path, benches and a dog comfort station for service animals. They also added passive water harvesting basins to draw birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife. At a planting party for community members -- one of several events to publicize the new amenities -- neighbors spent a day digging in the dirt and enjoying a renewed sense of community.

New Orleans, LA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: In New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, many residents lack access to public outdoor spaces. To provide additional recreational areas and bolster intergenerational connections for residents, the Sankofa Community Development Corporation improved Sankofa Wetland Park and Nature Trail, clearing overgrown grass, fallen trees and other obstructions from the water's edge. Project organizers also installed benches and bike racks and bought new fishing equipment for visitors to use in the park. Fishing has great cultural significance to the residents of this neighborhood and provides a way for elders to bond with and mentor local youth.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Ely, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Digital navigation skills

Description: This project will provide four virtual reality devices for the community's use, with an emphasis on introducing older adults to the technology as education and entertainment.

Wilton, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: This project will improve a garden space by developing a sensory area for all ages. The upgrades will provide shade and increase comfortable seating options, ensuring the space is accessible for all users. Master gardeners will help guide planting, with the aim of growing produce.

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