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Berlin, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: The City of Berlin has eight parks, but only two were well visited. Berlin's Parks and Recreation Department hoped to draw residents to check out the lesser-known locations. To do this, the department held a bench-painting contest. Local Boy Scouts and high school students built six wooden benches and Parks and Recreation Department recruited local artists to paint them. After the benches were completed, the Parks Department placed one in each park. The department then got residents involved, challenging them to hunt for each bench's location and vote on the designs they liked best. After the scavenger hunt, the benches went up for auction. The hunt got residents explore local parks, including ones they might not have previously visited. Inspired by the success of this project, the Parks Department plans to replicate the competition in the future.

Chicago, IL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: This project will install a comfortable and attractive circular tree bench in a park where residents can sit while they wait for the bus.

Blue Rapids, KS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: This project transformed a basketball court in City Park into two pickleball courts. The fast-paced, low-impact game is a cross between tennis and ping-pong and is popular among older adults. To attract more people to the sport, Blue Rapids Community Action Team also hosted an event teaching residents about how to play pickleball, as well as the game's health and social benefits.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Parkersburg, WV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: Downtown PKP wanted to build on its efforts to bring public art to Parkersburg. Over the years, the nonprofit created selfie stations and displayed welcome banners in the central business district. This project added a 40-foot mural. Downtown PKB held community listening sessions, where they asked residents what they love most about their town, as well as about their hopes for the future. Using the responses, a team of artists developed a design depicting a collage of smiling faces, local landmarks and butterflies. During four public paint parties, 300 volunteers worked to install the mural on the side of the Parkersburg Art Center. Project organizers say the collaborative effort culminated in public art that beautified Parkersburg's downtown.

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