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Wichita, KS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: The Wichita Public Library and Bike Walk Wichita launched three historical walking tours, which can be accessed through a smartphone app. It's all about inspiring curiosity in people about their hometown. According to Jeff Flor of the Downtown Development Corporation, Wichita has a lot of stories to tell, from the drugstore sit-in during the Civil Rights movement to the now-gone Victory Arch honoring World War I soldiers. To promote the app, library staff and volunteers participated in an open streets festival while wearing t-shirts with the message Ask me how to travel time.

Baltimore, MD

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: Sundays in the Street was originally a proposal to close two busy streets to vehicle traffic -- for only two Sundays each month. But after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Baltimore, the car-free experiment became permanent. Project organizers set out bollards and large planters to block off two streets in the Fells Point neighborhood, turning the area into an open-air plaza. This created space for children to play, older adults to stroll and residents to gather safely. The site hosted outdoor dining, kids' activities and live music. Already underway in the spring of 2020, the initiative gave Baltimore a jump start and provided a model for other communities dealing with COVID-19 shutdowns.

Blaine County, ID

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: Like many places, Blaine County struggled with community connectedness and social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. To combat this problem, The Senior Connection created the Wood River Valley Daffodil Festival. Over three autumn days, a multigenerational group of volunteers planted 30,000 daffodil bulbs at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden. As planned, the flowers blossomed during the festival, which took place the following spring. The volunteers included older adults, school classes, landscape companies and other community businesses. The festival -- which features food trucks, live music and garden tours -- is now an annual event.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Philadelphia, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha completed streetscaping along an important corridor of Germantown Avenue in North Philadelphia. Small-scale, low-cost -- but high-impact -- improvements began with street cleaning. Volunteers then worked to add elements to offset pedestrians from traffic and slow down passing vehicles. They installed decorative fences, signs at pedestrian crossings, flexible bollards, sidewalk art and temporary island installations. The project was part of a larger effort to revive what was once a vibrant, central commercial corridor and residents reacted positively. One said, It makes it look like people actually live here, like they do Another added, This makes it easier for children to know where they can safely cross. Organizers are seeking to make the island installations permanent. Additionally, the City committed to restriping the street and continue cleanup efforts, while community members plan to replicate beautification elements on nearby vacant lots.

Philadelphia, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Resources about housing options, safety and services

Description: An eviction prevention pilot program enabled tenants and landlords to resolve disputes before they escalated to formal eviction filings. The City of Philadelphia's two-month program provided mediation, financial assistance, information and referrals to help landlords and tenants reach mutually agreeable, out-of-court solutions. To do this, the City worked with partner agencies to train 10 experienced mediators in landlord-tenant law. The program also set up meetings between tenant advocates and tenants prior to mediation to assess their situation and offer advice. All participating landlords and tenants reported they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the pilot. Moving forward, the City plans to use the results of this pilot as a model for a 12-month mediation program. In the long term, the City expects to see fewer evictions, reduced displacement and cost savings for landlords, property managers and the local homeless services system.


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