See More Projects Like This One

La Crosse, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: La Crosse's food forest produces fruit and vegetables for the community, helps absorb stormwater runoff and serves as a communal gathering place. The forest, however, did not have seating along its many paths. To beautify the forest and give visitors a place to rest, the La Crosse Area Family YMCA created artistic benches. Younger people worked with older adult mentors to design, assemble and decorate each bench. Many pay homage to the forest, featuring images of plants and vegetables. Project organizers say the public art effort fostered intergenerational cohesion, and residents consider the new benches to be source of community pride.

Bethel, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To provide residents with places to sit and gather, the Bethel Age-Friendly Community partnered with local artists and craftspeople to create benches and picnic tables. As a thank-you to organizations that have supported age-friendly work in the region, organizers gave the seating to partner organizations who assist with age-friendly programming, events and volunteer efforts. The benches and tables now sit in each of the six towns that make up the Bethel region. Each table is adorned with a chess board and each bench features decorations that pay homage to the town where it sits, with volunteers chipping in to paint the furniture. Organizers say they hope the project demonstrates the value of simple public space enhancements.

Manning, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Organizers with Manning Main Street hoped to encourage visitors to Manning's vibrant downtown to congregate and socialize. To create an inviting environment, they installed twelve artistic lights along Main Street. Local artisans created the lights, which are comprised of panels featuring cutouts depicting local landmarks, including the town's water tower, trestle bridge and historic Lutheran church. The additional illumination also enhances safety in the area. In the years since, Main Street Manning has focused on streetscaping and has added more art installations downtown.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Athens, AL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project will provide age-friendly seating in the gathering area at the local farmers market, so that older patrons can relax, socialize and enjoy live musical performances.

Eldridge, AL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: In a rural area with few safe, comfortable outdoor recreation areas, this project will create a community space with a walking trail, picnic area and intergenerational playground equipment, so residents can socialize and engage in healthy physical activity.

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