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Ashland, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: A survey showed residents in Ashland wanted more outdoor seating in the city's downtown. As part of larger efforts to revitalize the commercial district the City worked with Ashland Main Street to install decorative benches. The City engaged teams of artists -- including college students and staff from the local food co-op -- to design artwork for the seating. Then, with the help of volunteers, project organizers then installed one bench on every block of Ashland's nine-block commercial area. Each depicts imagery related to the community's identity, including scenes from local history or ecology. Paying homage to nearby Lake Superior, several benches have a water theme. Project organizers say Ashland is known as the mural capital of Wisconsin, and the benches work with other public art installations to draw people to visit downtown.

Fullerton, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Addressing community health

Description: This project hosted twice-weekly training sessions on outdoor fitness equipment at four parks frequented by older adults.

Carson City, NV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public or private transit access

Description: Organizers at the Brewery Art Center hoped to improve accessibility at a nearby bus stop. So they installed new lighting and benches at the site, allowing more residents to take advantage of public transportation to get them to the Center's events, classes and galleries. Project organizers also worked with the local transportation department to increase transit service hours during the Center's events. These accessibility improvements enabled the Center to offer new programming for older adults, including a rock choir called School of Rock, Senior Years. Additionally, grant funding allowed for the restoration of a mural painted in the 1990s, which depicts the family who ran the Carson Brewery Company.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Bowdoinham, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: The Town of Bowdoinham provided elevated planters to six residents who, because of disabilities, could not maintain traditional, in-the-ground gardens. Members of the local Masons Lodge constructed the raised beds and delivered soil to each recipient. To showcase the planters, the Town hosted a community meal featuring local produce, which included a presentation about the benefits of raised beds. In addition, the Town founded a garden club, which meets monthly.

Freeport, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Developing projects based on residents' priorities

Description: Older adults can often feel underappreciated. The Town of Freeport wanted to change through a unique event designed to honor its older residents. The Town invited local families to go up in hot air balloons over the town -- something project organizers describe as an experience one will never forget. Thanks to donations from a local business, the Town was able to offset the cost of tickets, making this an activity in which everyone could participate, regardless of age, income or ability.

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