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Lebanon, IN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To help older adults attend the dozens of events The Heart of Lebanon stages downtown each year, this project provided seating and personal umbrellas (including ones that can be used as a cane) on-site.

Seattle, WA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To help the Southwest Seattle Senior Center become a safer and more inviting gathering space, organizers with Rebuilding Together Seattle made physical improvements to the facility. This included refurbishing handrails, demolishing a shed and replacing it with expanded ADA-compliant parking for members, repainting the building's faade and sprucing up landscaping. RTS used the project to promote its Open Volunteer Days, attracting people from the community to assist with the work. The Center serves an area of Seattle with the city's highest poverty rates and largest share of low-income residents. Project organizers said they hoped the improvements would help position the Center as a safe haven and community hub.

Lemmon, SD

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Staff at the Lemmon Public Library saw a need to reduce social isolation in town, particularly among older residents. To address this, they set out to improve the library's public gathering space. Project organizers created a new bakery cafe, purchasing folding tables with stacking chairs, an acrylic pastry cabinet, a cake cover and cupcake display, tablecloths and pump pots for coffee. Since the cafe's opening, the library has used new tables and chairs at hundreds of events and the space has accommodated pop-up shops. The opportunity to bake for the cafe led some residents to launch their own baking businesses and one retired baker was inspired to plan a workshop for women starting businesses. Sparked by the success of the cafe, library staff have since pursued other opportunities to expand community space, including providing library patrons with an outdoor area for reading and gathering.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Bethlehem, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Trails

Description: As part of its efforts to bring public art to the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy created a mural along the trail in the Town of Bethlehem. Project organizers chose a local artist from a pool of applicants to paint the mural, which depicts a surreal landscape and adorns a formerly graffitied wall. Since then, the Art on the Rail Trail (ART) initiative has installed several more murals, as well as a mini art gallery and arts programming. The trail is popular with pedestrians and cyclists in warm weather and cross-county skiers and snowshoe hikers in the winter.

Bethlehem, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Trails

Description: The Mohawk Land Conservancy's Art on the Rail Trail sponsors art installations along the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail. The trail is popular with pedestrians and cyclists in warm weather and cross-country skiers and snowshoe hikers in the winter. To promote walking and biking, the Conservancy benches along the pathway and made repairs. Additionally, a new mural transformed a graffitied wall facing Hudson Avenue into a lush and pristine world of imagined creatures, according to artist Andrea Hersch.

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