See More Projects Like This One

La Crosse, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: La Crosse's food forest produces fruit and vegetables for the community, helps absorb stormwater runoff and serves as a communal gathering place. The forest, however, did not have seating along its many paths. To beautify the forest and give visitors a place to rest, the La Crosse Area Family YMCA created artistic benches. Younger people worked with older adult mentors to design, assemble and decorate each bench. Many pay homage to the forest, featuring images of plants and vegetables. Project organizers say the public art effort fostered intergenerational cohesion, and residents consider the new benches to be source of community pride.

Farmington, NM

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project activated a breezeway in downtown Farmington. The city-owned space was long unused -- it sits in the footprint of a building that burned to the ground in 1914. But since it conveniently connects a parking lot to the town's Main Street, project organizers saw its potential as a convenient passthrough and gathering space. By installing solar-powered string lights, setting out seating and tables and creating a mural on an adjacent building, the City created a pocket park. The city plans to continue to add to the space, creating more seating out of wood from a beloved blue spruce that died and installing raised planter beds. Organizers say they also envision bringing community activities to the pocket park.

Beaver Dam, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The City of Beaver Dam wanted to showcase its downtown Mural Walking Tour. To do this, they added benches along the route, allowing visitors to rest and interact with each other. The walking tour showcases 17 historical murals depicting 19th century business operations and notable Beaver Dam residents, including World War II glider pilot Harold Rief and science fiction author Raymond Z. Gallon. The City installed one six-foot-long, accessible bench near each mural on the walk. Additionally, they distributed mural tour maps to businesses and offices downtown. Project organizers report the seating has contributed to more pedestrian activity in the area. They also say the new benches have inspired private donations to purchase seating for other parts of downtown.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Bolton, CT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: To help local older adults stay physically active, this project installed a new pickleball court behind Bolton's senior center. Volunteers also installed a bench onsite to give players and spectators a place to rest. Pickleball -- a fast-paced game combining elements of tennis and ping-pong -- is popular with older adults since is low-impact.

Windham, CT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: The project will transform an neglected park into a welcoming and functional recreational space, with seating and tables to encourage outdoor recreation, socializing and intergenerational interaction.

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