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North Las Vegas, NV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: North Las Vegas hoped to encourage residents to get outside for exercise and recreation. As part of its All the Best Paths are Taken by Foot campaign, the City installed concrete benches along walking paths within city parks. The benches sit along sidewalks and near outdoor athletic courts. When selecting parks to receive the benches, project organizers examined the existing amenities and prioritized areas with larger older adult populations. To help people navigate to nearby parks, the City erected wayfinding signs. Project organizers also launched a social media campaign and distributed flyers showcasing the improvements and describing the health benefits of walking.

Asheville, NC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: After Buncombe County Recreation Services installed new instruments in Charles D. Owen Park -- including lily pad cymbals, a tenor tree, tuned drums and flower gongs -- park attendance increased nearly 20 percent in one year. The instruments, created by the Freenotes Harmony Park company, don't include sharps or flats and are designed to be played using arm and hand muscles rather than fingers. That way, people of all musical abilities can play them without training. More than 400 people also participated in three workshops focused on designing artistic tiles for the new space with themes of compassion, peace and diversity. The creation of the Real Possibilities musical garden sparked new projects, including the park's first TRACK Trail (self-guided, family-friendly outdoor adventures with prizes), enhanced sports courts and bird nest boxes that allow researchers to study tree swallows.

Hartford, CT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: This project improved accessibility at Pope Park for older adults and people with disabilities. Project organizers installed ADA-compliant picnic tables with benches, designed to accommodate individuals using scooters or wheelchairs. The added amenities upgraded an area of the park with a play area and spray pool for small children. In this predominantly low-income neighborhood few homes have front or back yards, making Pope Park an important outdoor space for residents of all ages. Project organizers say the new seating highlighted a need for more accessible pathways in the park, which are now being designed.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Cuthbert, GA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Andrew College activated an empty space in downtown Cuthbert into a practical, attractive gathering space, which they dubbed Magnolia Alley. Two murals by Andrew College artists already decorated the alley, since the college hosts events in the adjoining square. To make the space more useable for famers markets, art receptions and other gatherings, volunteers added benches, lighting and a hardwood pergola to provide shade.

Athens, GA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Inclusive public space improvements

Description: Athens has a rich African American history that spans many generations, yet has lacked an appropriate venue to share its stories. The Downtown Athens Development Authority created a permanent exhibit at the Ware-Lydon House Museum about people enslaved in the region, which also featured stories about their descendants. The exhibit was developed alongside the museum's new, 40-volume African American heritage library and community conversation area, which includes tables and chairs where visitors can gather. Additionally, the Authority developed the first section of an African American Heritage Pathway walking tour, which travels between the museum and the home of one of the first vaudeville theaters in the U.S. built, owned, and operated by a Black entrepreneur.

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