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Harrisburg, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Vacant lots in Harrisburg's Allison Hill neighborhood -- which make up about a third of the neighborhood's land area -- were overgrown with weeds and debris, attracted crime and often served as illegal dumping sites. To address this, the Tri County Community Organization set out to clean up eight lots. Volunteers cleared the sites of debris, installed fencing and planted low-maintenance grass that only grows to six inches in height. This project opens up the space so that there's no place to hide for crime, so this project really helps to bring beauty to the neighborhood, Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator Donnell Brown said. Now that the lots are cleaned up, project organizers hope the spaces will help raise property values, as well as provide residents with a gathering space.

Readfield, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Organizers with Age-Friendly Readfield knew their town was in need of a facelift. To help meet the needs of residents facing food insecurity, they provided a local food bank with a sandwich sign board, rolling delivery cart and new cooler. They also upgraded the town library's outdoor space by adding Adirondack chairs and tables. Finally, they provided chairs and a kayak dock for Readfield's beach. A multigenerational group of volunteers cleaned up both the library park and beach. Organizers say these same volunteers will now be involved in programming at both outdoor spaces.

Champlain, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The Village of Champlain constructed a freestanding launch for kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards on the Great Chazy River, complete with a gangway to help visitors easily board their boats. A local firm designed and donated materials to add an accessible rail to the launch and the Village has explored setting up a rental system for visitors who do not own a kayak or other boat. Since installation, more individuals from the Village of Champlain and surrounding communities are able to enjoy the river.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

College Place, WA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public spaces improvements to increase high-speed internet availability

Description: Many residents of College Place lacked access to reliable high-speed internet. To address this, the City of College Place installed hotspots at parks, playgrounds, outdoor movie venues, farmers markets and the local municipal center. Organizers ensured each chosen location had a parking lot, allowing residents to access the internet from their vehicles. To spread the word, the City posted signs advertising the hotspots and City staff attended community events to discuss the free Wi-Fi initiative. Project organizers say public Wi-Fi helps residents access important online resources, such as local job postings. Additionally, the undertaking strengthened the City's relationship with the local school district and affordable housing providers.

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