See More Projects Like This One

Milton-Freewater, OR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project temporarily transformed an underused parking lot into a town plaza, dubbed Freewater Square. First, the Milton-Freewater Downtown Alliance made repairs to the pavement and added electric and water access at the site. They then purchased outdoor furniture, shade umbrellas and games. Volunteers also built planters and installed a stage for performances. To beautify the plaza, project organizers also held a mural painting competition. After the transformation, the plaza hosted monthly events, including live music, movie nights, community art projects and game tournaments -- all of which gave residents a safe way to socialize during the COVID-19 pandemic. Small buildings host pop-ups, allowing the site the act as a small business incubator. Eventually, MFDA plans to revert the site to a parking lot. But project organizers say they will use ideas from the plaza activation to permanently convert a nearby vacant lot into a community market and activity center.

Old Orchard Beach, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Old Orchard Beach Community Friendly Connection reenergized a neighborhood block, organizing residents to clean up, restore and refresh the Washington Avenue District and Atlantic Courts Park. A sidewalk and crosswalk painting project brightened the area and encouraged locals to walk. To improve public safety, the town also worked with the local cable and electric companies to mount a security camera near the park's basketball court and convert the court's lighting to LED. After the project was complete, about 250 people attended a block party to celebrate, with residents voting to rename the area Washington Square. Nearby businesses and community groups have ridden the momentum and made improvements to their properties as well. Those living in the neighborhood report they walk through the area more often since the transformation.

Dunedin, FL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project added universal-access picnic tables to the playground at the library. It also created a story walk with signage explaining the city's history and other distinctions.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Portland, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: This project piloted an age-friendly business designation in Portland. The designation encourages local businesses to adopt practices that accommodate older adult customers. Participating businesses receive a certificate, as well as window decals advertising their status as an age-friendly business. Additionally, the Ramp Up for Accessibility project provided portable ramps and wireless doorbells to locations that are open to the public.

Portland, OR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: Following COVID-19 shutdowns, Alberta Main Street wanted to encourage residents to visit small businesses in the Alberta District. To increase foot traffic in the neighborhood, they hosted a series of community events. Christmas, Halloween and other holiday-themed gatherings drew large crowds to the district. Additionally, they launched a monthly Last Thursday series, which showcased local artists' work and offered activities for families with children. Organizers worked to ensure each event celebrated the neighborhoods' diversity and culture, as well as its African American business owners. Alberta Main Street hopes future events help shield legacy businesses from displacement. In the future, they are also planning a grant program to help owners historically overlooked by traditional lenders.

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AARP Maine State Office

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Suite 202
Portland, ME 04101
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