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Bessemer, MI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Bikeability

Description: Officials in Bessemer, located on the western end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, wanted to promote biking while beautifying their city. To do this, they installed 12 bike racks, each featuring decorative tops made of colored glass. The racks make cycling easier for residents, allowing them to ride their bikes for exercise and to run errands. The project was part of a larger city bike plan that included painting stripes for bike lanes the city's busiest roads. Since installing the bike racks, Bessemer has continued to support biking. In 2020, work began on a 1.5 million upgrade and extension of the Iron Belle Trail, which connects Bessemer with nearby communities.

Bismarck, ND

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Bikeability

Description: Officials in Bismarck wanted to gauge support for a proposed path connecting downtown to the riverfront, dubbed the Bismarck Central Pathway. This project created a temporary path for pedestrians and cyclists, allowing the City to get feedback from residents over several weeks. In addition to connecting existing sidewalks and trails, project organizers used hay bales, traffic cones and paint to block off a portion of the street for pedestrians and cyclists. To get input, they set up kiosks along the path where residents could write about their experience. They also created an online survey. Residents generally supported making the route permanent, as long as pedestrians are protected from street traffic. The City plants to use the feedback to determine the best route for the new path. Project organizers say the pop-up trail also inspired other pop-ups. Since 2017, Bismarck planning staff have tested a road diet, an intersection bump-out project and a one-way to two-way road conversion.

Las Cruces, NM

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Bikeability

Description: To make its downtown more bike-friendly, the Downtown Las Cruces installed 40 bike tacks. Based on feedback from the local cycling community, project organizers painted the racks racer green. Engagement with local business owners and volunteers determined the best locations to place the racks. In the future, Downtown Las Cruces expects placemaking efforts to continue with new shade sails. The City of Las Cruces also has plans for a new green path to facilitate biking and walking.

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.

Berea, SC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Greenville County's Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department created a backyard space to the Berea Community Center. A new walking path loop connects the center to new amenities, with include swinging benches, horseshoe pits and a community garden space. The site also features improved landscaping. Project organizers constructed beds for the gardens at a variety of heights -- including three wheelchair-accessible pull-up beds -- to accommodate visitors of different ability levels.

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