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Monroe, GA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To give people an outdoor space to socialize in the heart of downtown, the City of Monroe transformed its visitor center's concrete patio into a new mini-park. The City brightened up the area by adding planters, seating, outdoor games and a mural painted by local youth. The City then unveiled the new space during the local fall festival. Additionally, project organizers made enhancements to the existing hammock park located next to the visitor's center. The site offers visitors a spot to relax in one of several hammocks. To accommodate more foot traffic, the City added bench swings and pergolas for shade. Inspired by the visitor center improvements, nearby businesses put out their own planters by their storefronts. Project organizers say the upgrades helped lift the spirits of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Williamston, NC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To create a downtown community space, the Martin County Chamber of Commerce transformed an empty lot by building a covered stage. The Chamber also added seating, allowing the space to accommodate local events. In addition, they added raised garden beds nearby, installing them at different heights to accommodate, children, older adults and people who use wheelchairs. Since its installation, the stage has hosted a variety of events and performances, including a local theater group's performance of excerpts from The Sound of Music, a karaoke night and a town Christmas celebration. Organizers say they hope the project sparks business investment and revitalization in Williamston's downtown.

Chillicothe, OH

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project will turn a vacant and blighted property into the Sixth Ward's first-ever park, providing access to outdoor space for all generations.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Oakland, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: During the COVID-19 pandemic, community gardens became critical, allowing residents of Oakland and the East Bay to meet and connect with neighbors and grow healthy food. However, many community gardens lacked amenities that made them accessible for people of all ages. To close this gap, Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley added needed amenities for gardens throughout the region. By installing three picnic tables, four tool sheds, five Adirondack chairs, ten garden benches and more 30 garden stools, Habitat for Humanity was able to revitalize well-loved gardens and ensure more residents could access fresh produce locally.

San Francisco, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: When the Florence Fang Asian Community Garden opened in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood in 2014, it focused on serving Asian immigrant elders and filled a need for green space and fresh food. This project expanded the garden, adding 3,000 square feet of gardening space and making it the second largest urban farm in San Francisco. The additional space allowed gardeners to try new techniques -- such as row planting -- that increased the garden's yields. Additionally, organizers upgraded the garden's compost system and set up beehives to help with pollinating crops. The larger harvest allowed garden organizers to distribute four tons of produce annually to local families in needs, including culturally relevant foods such as bok choy and Chinese chives.

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