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Richland County, SC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Inclusive civic engagement efforts

Description: To help facilitate community conversations around race, bias, inclusivity and equality, the Richland Library created a curriculum for community groups, nonprofits and businesses. To launch the Let's Talk Race program, library staff brought in a consultant to develop training materials, as well as videos and web content. All materials are available to the community for free. Additionally, organizers wanted to enable other communities to replicate the work, so they built an open-source digital toolkit. Organizers hope the curriculum creates a safe space for important -- but often difficult -- community discussions.

Ogden, UT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Innovative home maintenance, repair and support services

Description: As part of long-term revitalization efforts, community leaders have worked to provide safe, quality housing options for low-income families, older adults and veterans living in Ogden's Jefferson Park neighborhood. To build momentum for the initiative, Habitat for Humanity recruited 1,400 volunteers, who completed nearly 70 home repair and renovation projects over a 16-week period. Their work included roof repairs, ramp, deck and fencing installations and yardwork. Additionally, volunteers made upgrades to a popular playground. Organizers say the project restored a sense of neighborhood pride and inspired ongoing improvements, including plans to build affordable housing and renovate a community center in the neighborhood.

Monroeville, AL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Organizers with Monroeville's Main Street initiative hoped to draw residents to the city's historic downtown district. To give people a reason to gather outdoors, they added wheelchair-accessible game tables and seating in several locations, including the grounds of the Monroe County Museum, two parks, the local YMCA and a senior center. The organization also purchased checkers and chess game pieces, which are available to visitors to check out. Part of a larger campaign to decrease littering and encourage community pride, organizers also installed trash cans downtown. And to increase facetime with constituents, the newly elected mayor also called on residents to challenge him to a game of chess or checkers. Organizers say the placemaking project is meant to unite the community by giving people a place to connect with each other.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Greenville, SC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Walker Park -- a pocket park in the West Greenville neighborhood -- is a popular gathering place for residents, but the greenspace lacked accessibility features and shade. To address this, the City refurbished park benches and added an ADA-compliant shelter house with an entrance ramp. Additionally, they worked to give visitors more recreation options, replacing a dilapidated horseshoes pit and adding accessible game tables. Organizers say the additions help Greenville's older adults and intergenerational families take advantage of park amenities.

Greenville, SC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Bikeability

Description: This project set up six workbenches, complete with tools, to allow riders to do their own repairs at a local bike shop. It also created videos and compiled those on YouTube to aid the amateur mechanics.

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