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Blue Rapids, KS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: This project transformed a basketball court in City Park into two pickleball courts. The fast-paced, low-impact game is a cross between tennis and ping-pong and is popular among older adults. To attract more people to the sport, Blue Rapids Community Action Team also hosted an event teaching residents about how to play pickleball, as well as the game's health and social benefits.

Amesville, OH

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Since Amesville earned its designation as a Bee City USA, the village has worked to sustain pollinators. To provide pollinating birds and insects with a habitat rich in native plants and free from insecticides, the Village created a pollinator garden. The effort activated an underused meadow in Gifford Park. Volunteers used a natural herbicide to clear out unwanted grass, then spread compost and seeded the half-acre site with wildflowers. They also constructed birdboxes and installed seating and signage. Since completing the project, the Village has hosted mini-festivals onsite, which feature walking tours of the garden.

Hillsboro, ND

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: Hillsboro is a small town without a school or senior center. Because of this, Buxton City Park features the community's only playground area. To make the playground more welcoming to people of all ages and abilities, the Buxton Park Board installed updated playground equipment and laid down soft landing material. Project organizers say the improvements have made the park an important intergenerational gathering space. The playground and park shelter are now the site of book club and Scouts meetings, celebrations and other community events.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Chicago, IL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To promote walkability, economic development and better quality of life for residents, the Chicago Department of Transportation created a replicable prototype for a People Spot. Consisting of a wooden platform, the People Spots transform on-street parking spaces into outdoor patios. To help neighborhood groups set up their own People Spots, the City published construction plans and an assembly manual for the parklets online. Part of the City's Livable Streets Program, organizers say the temporary infrastructure helps neighborhoods overcome economic hardship by encouraging residents to walk and frequent local businesses. The City installed its first People Spot in the South Side Chatham neighborhood in 2018. That iteration measured about six feet wide by 20 feet long, but the platforms can be as long as 80 feet.

Chicago, IL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: The El Paseo Community Garden in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood added a new gathering space, dubbed El Convivio or The Gathering. The goal of the project was to make the garden more accessible to Latino older adults living in nearby apartment buildings. Improvements to the space include an outdoor kitchen and patio with a fire pit, ADA-compliant seating, walking paths and an accessible planting station. Planters at the site were specifically designed to grow culturally relevant produce, including tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onions. The picnic area's stucco and ceramic tiles mimic designs seen in Mexican haciendas. Garden leaders partnered with nonprofit architectural firm Human Scale to involve garden members in the space's design and volunteers from the neighborhood installed the new amenities. As El Paseo's leadership finalized El Convivio, they also worked with the City of Chicago to secured additional land to expand the garden.

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