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Lynn, MA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The PATIO Parklet program involved installing three modular, portable parklets in downtown Lynn. Parklets transform curbside parking spaces into vibrant community spaces. The ones in Lynn include tables and seating, greenery and public art. Since installing the parklets, Lynn has seen improved street safety, increased foot traffic, more social interactions among residents and new, culturally relevant programming downtown. The parklets have hosted musical performances, sidewalk sales and the Living Room Series -- facilitated bilingual conversations on important local topics. One installation of the Living Room Series gave residents the chance to meet with school committee and city council candidates. Project organizers say the parklet initiative also helped Beyond Walls to deepen its relationship with partner organizations, including Greater Lynn Senior Services and the Lynn Council on Aging.

Washington, DC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The Well at Oxon Run, a 1.5-acre farm, outdoor classroom and community space, has been a huge asset for the Congress Heights neighborhood. The Well, however, lacked a waterproof, covered area for events and classes. DC Greens added a roof to the Well's wood-framed pavilion, creating a comfortable venue that is usable year-round. Following the roof's installation, the space has hosted yoga, chi gong and body therapy classes, as well as community drum circles and other events.

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.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Pine Bluff, AR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: For children living below the poverty line in Pine Bluffs, affordable fruits and vegetables are difficult to come by. The Seed to Table Community Garden helps to close the gap, providing garden plots for local families. The City of Pine Bluffs further improved the garden by installing an accessible pavilion and eight benches. They also provided extra gardening supplies, fertilizer and seedlings to help the garden serve additional residents.

Pine Bluff, AR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2024

Project Category: Bike Audits

Description: The city will conduct three bike audits to determine where to add bike lanes, as the current absence of such lanes puts cyclists at risk. The project will specifically invite older adult volunteers to weigh in.

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