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Des Moines, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: In the early to mid-1900s, the Waveland Trolley was an integral part of Des Moines' transportation system yet has long since been replaced by more modern options. The Des Moines Historical Society's Waveland Trolley Project set out to commemorate the city's rich history by transforming a long-neglected space into a walkable outdoor transit museum. The park-like setting is located on the former site of the trolley loop, where streetcars would turn around at the end of their route. The outdoor museum features benches, bike racks, panels displaying historical information and a life-sized sculpture of the Waveland Trolley.

Morrilton, AR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project created an outdoor therapy space, designed to be accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Volunteers poured a concrete slab to serve as a play surface. They also added benches and picnic tables onsite.

Honolulu, HI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: While Hawaii is known for beaches and lush mountains, many urban areas lack accessible green space. To give residents outdoor space, Better Block Hawaii planned, designed and installed two parklets in Honolulu's Kalihi neighborhood. Working with the City of Honolulu to identify areas of need, they installed the first parklet at Richie's Drive Inn, transforming a parking area into a mini park with tables, benches, planters and a mural. Parklets help local businesses extend their storefronts onto the sidewalk and boost revenue by creating cozy, inviting gathering places.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Woodbine, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Improved wayfinding

Description: To create a sense of place in the downtown Historic District, Woodbine Main Street designed and installed a dozen interpretive signs. The signs -- which volunteers placed on downtown buildings -- communicate historical facts, as well as local cultural context and human-interest stories. Project organizers say the placemaking initiative turns the district into an outdoor museum. Woodbine Main Street features the signage in its series of walking field trips -- part of the organization's efforts to improve walkability throughout Woodbine.

Harlan, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Harlan library staff wanted to encourage families with children to explore Pioneer Park. To draw people in, they created a Story Walk. The library purchased twenty displays to house pages of a storybook, which they placed along the park's walking path. With their grandparents and parents by their side, kids enjoy running from sign to sign to reach the next part of the story. To keep the experience fresh, library employees swap out new stories seasonally.

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AARP Iowa State Office

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Suite 100
Des Moines, IA 50309
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Phone: 866-554-5378
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