Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Columbia, SC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The City of Columbia set out to provide outdoor seating along Main Street, an area that attracts pedestrians and hosts events that draw visitors from the surrounding region. Project organizers say that people now have a spot to work on their laptops, enjoy a cup of coffee or take in a meal from nearby food trucks. Although staff originally removed and stored the tables at the end of each day, their popularity spurred the City to leave them out permanently. And when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the colorful tables and chairs provided residents with a safe space to gather outside. Because the seating is heavily used, the City has explored more ways to provide seating on Main Street.

Columbia, SC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: As part of efforts to activate space and increase the vitality of Columbia's downtown, this project created the city's first parklet. Parklets transform on-street parking spaces into public gathering spaces. Originally intended to be temporary, Columbia's miniature park consists of a ground-level, fenced-in deck featuring an art installation, a cafe table and chairs and new planters. While several nearby restaurants lack outdoor seating space, the parklet remedied this, giving visitors a space to eat and socialize. To gather public feedback about the new space, city staff displayed a QR code onsite, which linked to an online survey. Spurred by the success of this project, organizers made plans to add more parklets downtown. City staff have also looked into creating a parklet ordinance, which would allow local businesses to create similar spaces in the future.


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Connect with your AARP State Office

AARP has offices in all 50 states as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

AARP South Carolina State Office

1201 Main Street
Suite 1720
Columbia, SC 29201
United States

Phone: 866-389-5655
Fax: 803-251-4379
Email: [email protected]