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Oconomowoc, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This alley activation project turned a stark passageway between the lakefront and downtown retail into a livelier pedestrian link. Project organizers added a painted design on the pavement and constructed trellises to provide shade. The City chose not to close the alleyway during the transformation work. Instead, passersby were invited to lend a hand to the rejuvenation process by painting a faux floor tile (or several). This also allowed visitors to ask questions about the transformation happening before their eyes. The project sparked conversations about how to activate the other downtown alleys, each with its own unique look and distinctive experience. And when the City reconstructed its boardwalk, it borrowed the trellis design used in the alleyway. People now change their routes to experience the walkway, city planner Kristi Weber said. It gets folks to lift their heads up, look around and enjoy some untraditional and unexpected art.

Nashville, TN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: With the goal of reducing social isolation for older residents, Urban Housing Solutions designed and constructed a temporary parklet at Mercury Court, a small affordable housing community close to downtown Nashville. The organization outfitted the outdoor space with patio chairs, picnic tables, planter boxes, solar string lights and shade umbrellas. They also repainted a community room and decorated a wall with graphics celebrating the property's history. To ensure the space enables social interaction, a group of residents worked to coordinate social events, such as movie and game nights and community meals. In addition, Mercury Courts residents have shown interest in using the new planter boxes as garden beds. Urban Housing Solutions is a nonprofit housing developer serving Nashville's unhoused and low-income residents.

Ossipee, NH

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project built a covered pavilion with benches to provide shade and a gathering place.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Millinocket, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: Residents and leaders in Millinocket, located at the foot of Mount Katahdin, are working to make the town a four-season destination for outdoor recreation. To encourage residents to get outside and interact with their neighbors, the Town held the Katahdin Snowdown, a winter event. Activities included ice skating, snowshoeing, snow art and a bonfire. Organizers offered visitors hot chocolate and coffee. In addition, the Town installed a story walk -- a series of signs along a local hiking trail that each display a portion of a storybook. Equipment purchased for the event -- including benches, pop-up tents, insulated coolers and speakers -- are now available for use at other town events. The outdoor event provided residents with an intergenerational social outing during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the years since, the Snowdown has become an annual occurrence.

Danforth, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Accessibility of amenities

Description: This project brought the city's Livable Communities Center up to ADA accessibility standards with a new front walkway and entryway and a renovation of its stairwell.

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