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Hilo, HI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: Like in many communities around the country, older adults in Hilo were particularly isolated during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. To help older adults connect with friends and neighbors, the East Hawai'i Cultural Center created an outdoor mobile stage. The modular stage hosted free and low-cost theatre, dance, music, hula, poetry performances and lectures at venues throughout the community, including several at two senior centers.

Sacramento, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: This project will transform a park by staging a vibrant pop-up community celebration and organizing workshops where older adults can become involved in decisions about how to improve their community.

Austin, TX

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, Austin's Healthy Streets program closed streets to vehicle traffic in several residential neighborhoods. This enabled neighbors to go for walks and ride bikes without needing to dodge traffic. To help residents become advocates for slow streets, project organizers held online meetings with neighbor groups to teach them effective ways to share their opinions with City leadership. Local artists also created street murals to decorate the low-traffic spaces. This ultimately helped keep Healthy Streets alive -- the Transportation Department announced it would wind down the program due concerns about cost and staff capacity. But community advocates documented the benefits of the street closures and urged the city council to keep the project. In 2021, the council voted in to make the program permanent. Project organizers also created a report with best practices to help other communities replicate open streets projects.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

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.

Tucson, AZ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Housing Choice Design Competitions

Description: This project will develop a design competition to promote accessory dwelling units and create a model plan catalog featuring ADUs that support a variety of needs, including for older adults and multigenerational families.

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