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San Antonio, TX

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: To encourage residents to live an active lifestyle, this project added outdoor exercise equipment along a walking trail in Palomino Park. Additionally, the Alamo Colleges Foundation offered free fitness activities, both onsite and virtually.

Tucson, AZ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: City officials set out to revitalize the underused Francisco Elias Esquer Park, located around the corner from a large public housing community for older adults in Tucson's Barrio Blue Moon neighborhood. To address the needs of locals with disabilities, volunteers installed a wheelchair accessible walking path, benches and a dog comfort station for service animals. They also added passive water harvesting basins to draw birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife. At a planting party for community members -- one of several events to publicize the new amenities -- neighbors spent a day digging in the dirt and enjoying a renewed sense of community.

New Orleans, LA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: In New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, many residents lack access to public outdoor spaces. To provide additional recreational areas and bolster intergenerational connections for residents, the Sankofa Community Development Corporation improved Sankofa Wetland Park and Nature Trail, clearing overgrown grass, fallen trees and other obstructions from the water's edge. Project organizers also installed benches and bike racks and bought new fishing equipment for visitors to use in the park. Fishing has great cultural significance to the residents of this neighborhood and provides a way for elders to bond with and mentor local youth.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Louisville, KY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project made a series of placemaking improvements to the Woodlawn Avenue business district, located in the Beechmont neighborhood. First, the Center for Neighborhoods added pedestrian-level lighting along the street to improve safety. They also converted three parking spaces into an outdoor cafe space. Originally meant to be temporary, the picnic area's popularity spurred project organizers to create Louisville's first permanent parklet in the spot, which includes a deck, seating, a green wall and planter boxes. Beautification efforts also included activating a nearby alleyway. That included painting a mural for the space, which community members named Beechmont Alley. New, accessible parking spaces helped make the corridor more welcoming to people of all ability levels.

Louisville, KY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: At a width of 150 feet, Louisville's Ninth Street had the feel of a thoroughfare. To improve the street's safety and aesthetics, Louisville Metro Government upgraded sidewalks, painted bars to make crosswalks more visible to drivers and changed signals to give pedestrians more crossing time. To give people a space to rest, they added benches to an underused green space in the median, the site of an existing sculpture. Doing so created a public space for residents declared that a place to sit and rest in the area was one of their preferred amenities. Organizes say the project has sparked conversations about how to continue improving the pedestrian experience on Ninth Street. Louisville is now exploring adding bike lanes, as well as bump-outs to make crossing distances smaller. We want to redesign this corridor with people in mind and not just cars, Gretchen Millikin, director of advanced planning, said.

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