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Bethlehem, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Trails

Description: The Mohawk Land Conservancy's Art on the Rail Trail sponsors art installations along the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail. The trail is popular with pedestrians and cyclists in warm weather and cross-country skiers and snowshoe hikers in the winter. To promote walking and biking, the Conservancy benches along the pathway and made repairs. Additionally, a new mural transformed a graffitied wall facing Hudson Avenue into a lush and pristine world of imagined creatures, according to artist Andrea Hersch.

Homer, AK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Trails

Description: To welcome visitors of all abilities, the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust installed large-font signage on its Poopdeck Platt property. Part of long-term efforts to create an accessible trail on the site, the signs display QR codes, which link to recordings of local people reading the sign text accompanied by soothing music. The park is in downtown Homer, and the trail connects Homer's Independent Living Center to nearby Bishop's Beach. Today, the property is home to a story walk and the local library has plans to expand the trail, with a focus on local indigenous history. Since installing the signposts, the Land Trust has referenced their design to inspire signage at kiosks along other trails.

Sandpoint, ID

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Trails

Description: After acquiring a new, 180-acre forest property, organizers with the Kanitsu Land Trust wanted to ensure people of all ability levels could enjoy it. So they created an all-abilities trail to draw visitors to the site. Pine Street Woods now boasts half a mile of accessible walkways, as well as four new benches. Since completing these improvements, the Land Trust reports an uptick in trail use, with over 100 visitors per day in summer 2020. The trail now serves as an example to municipal leaders of how to address accessibility challenges that limit outdoor access for those with mobility issues.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Kansas City, MO

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: Kansas City's Oak Street was long plagued by high-speed car crashes. This month-long demonstration project put a two-block stretch of Oak Street on a road diet, with a mobility lane replacing one lane of traffic. Cars parked along the street -- as well as new planters -- protect bicyclists, scooter users, skateboarders, rollerbladers and joggers from traffic. The changes maintained all preexisting on-street parking. In fact, the project added two parking spots while also adding parking for 12 bicycles, 25 scooters and a few motorcycles. During the demonstration, vehicle speeds were 10 to 15 miles per hour slower than before. Since the project, the City has invested in parking hubs for bikes and scooters.

Kansas City, MO

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public safety interventions

Description: As part of community placemaking efforts, the Blue Hills Neighborhood Association installed solar pathway lights to Blue Hills-Kissick Park. The pocket park -- created by activating a vacant lot -- is a new addition to midtown Kansas City. Intended to increase safety, the lights allow residents to visit the park after dark. Organizers say the new green space serves as a pilot project, demonstrating how repurposing vacant lots can beautify a neighborhood, cut down on illegal dumping and reduce crime. The Association reports the project also helped them educate residents about the benefits of solar lighting, which include reduced electric bills.


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